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Gay activist brutally attacked in London, police slow to investigate

‘Hate crimes are on the up, the police need to step it up a gear'

Gay activist brutally attacked in London, police slow to investigate
Tom Knight

Tom Knight, 31-year-old writer, producer, and activist based in London, was brutally attacked for being gay on Friday, 3 November. Knight writes for Gay Times Magazine and is a producer for Pride in London.

‘I was on my way to get some food after a lovely chilled night with my friends, and as we were approaching the restaurant on Hoe Street in Walthamstow, three guys bashed into us looking for trouble,’ Knight recalls.

‘I shrugged it off saying “alright lads, come on” and before I knew it one of them hit me in the jaw while calling me a f*ggot. That was followed by a massive blow to my eye which knocked me to the ground.’

‘My face isn’t looking so good right now and I have cuts all up my arms and legs from falling,’ Knight tells GSN. ‘I’m still finding blood around my flat from when I got home after the incident.’

Response from the police

However, most worrisome is despite the fact Knight reported the incident to the police almost immediately, they seemed cavalier about investigating the hate crime.

‘After a long conversation with them they informed me they couldn’t attend the scene, and wouldn’t be able to see me and take a statement until Monday afternoon,’ Knight says.

‘I was shocked,’ Knight states. ‘Especially as we were minutes away from the station, in a busy part of town on a Friday night and there were no police in sight. They could have caught them if they came.’

‘Far too many people hesitate to report crimes as it is, so when the police don’t seem to take things seriously, it really doesn’t help,’ Knight says.

Knight has been the victim on anti-gay hatred in the past, but nothing as severe as this. Even in those less serious incidents, Knight recalls police not being helpful either.

‘It can leave a bitter taste in your mouth and it can be hard not to lose faith,’ Knight explains. ‘But we have to report each and every hate crime. Otherwise that person can go and do it to someone else and they might not be as lucky.’

‘I’m a confident, strong person, and this has knocked me quite a bit,’ Knight says. ‘I was lucky, it could have been a lot worse.’

‘Hate crimes are on the up, the police need to step it up a gear and make sure they are doing everything in their power to protect not just our community, but anyone on the receiving end of crime.’

This incident comes just days after it was announced that half of London police station counters are to close due to budget cuts.

Last month, it was revealed that the number of hate crimes in England and Wales has increased by 29% this year.

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