Hate Crimes In Oldham Paint Mixed Picture Of Progress

There is no clear story to tell about Oldham and race since the riots, at least not from the police statistics.

By Amy and Jasmine, both 15 · September 23, 2019

Crimes of racially or religiously aggravated public fear, alarm or distress in Oldham have been higher in the last four years than during the town’s race riots in 2001, according to data received following a Freedom of Information request.

There were 186 cases in 2001 and 128 in 2002, while the five-year average from 2014 to 2018 was 268, hitting a peak of 357 in 2017, as seen in the Oldham Times.

Assaults have dropped

The Oldham race riots happened in 2001, with the year seeing 797 racially or religiously motivated crimes. In comparison, 2017 and 2018 saw 647 and 543 crimes of a similar nature respectively.

Serious crimes like assaults have diminished over time, with 104 racially or religiously aggravated assaults with injury in 2001, to just 10 in 2018.

Pic: Wikimedia Commons / Matt

Racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage hit a high of 296 cases in 2001. Despite a spike in 2016 of 38 cases, the number has steadily dropped: in 2018, it was just eight.

The legacy of the riots

In 2016, Oldham Council told the BBC that “a lot of work has been done to tackle the problem”.

Tariq Rafiq, then head of Waterhead Academy, set up to break down barriers between Asian and White communities in Oldham, also told the BBC: “I definitely think we are moving forward”.

“When you see some of the sport activities young people are involved in it is heart-warming to see them coming together because of their school and not the colour of their skin.

“You used to see the two groups going into town separately on Saturdays and there would be antagonism and points of friction between them. This no longer happens.

“If anything the pace of change for adults needs to improve.”

Why did students cover this story?

Jasmine and Amy wrote this article because “We see the division between groups everyday and wanted to bring attention to it. We want schools and communities to realize the issue we have and ask for cooperation to help make it better.”