About 7 to 8 months ago we met with and had discussions with the Office for the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner, Nick Alston. Part of those discussions were to ensure that mosques in the area were provided with basic mosque safety advice and that they were aware of multiple reporting in mechanisms for non-emergency related hate incidents and hate crimes. Part of the suggestion was also that such an outreach capability could help to build confidence and help mosques in the area to feel that they had as many options to report in targeted Islamophobic hate incidents and crimes as possible. It was, in effect, a confidence and community awareness building programme.
We continuously pushed and given the expertise that we had in this area, we called for a joint approach between TELL MAMA and mosques so that members of the public could get access to hate crime reporting information, as well as ways that reports on hate incidents could be registered, logged and actioned through a third-party reporting process. The response that we received was budget driven and felt like anti-Muslim hate was merely an after thought rather than a central part of the strategy to tackle hate crimes in Essex. This coming after a Braintree resident was jailed for nine months in August 2013. Geoffrey Ryan, 44, of Brick Kiln Way, threw a smoke grenade through the window of the Al Falah mosque in Silks Way, Braintree and shouted threats whilst brandishing two kitchen knives in May 2013. This was in response to the murder of Lee Rigby in May 2013.