'I’ve been called names, been beaten up, not just once, several times' Hertfordshire Equality Council's chief executive shares his experience of hate crime

"I even had a brick thrown through my window in the house and putting my wife and children at risk"

Monday, 8th March 2021, 3:24 pm
Updated Monday, 8th March 2021, 3:26 pm

The chief executive of Hertfordshire Equality Council (HEC) shared his experience of hate crime at the Hertfordshire County Council Race Hate Crime Topic Group meeting.

The topic group heard from residents who have experienced hate crime.

Hemant Mistry, the chief executive of Hertfordshire Equality Council, told of his experience of living in the UK for 40 years since leaving India.

The chief executive of Hertfordshire Equality Council shared his experience of hate crime at the Hertfordshire County Council Race Hate Crime Topic Group meeting

Mr Mistry said: “The day I arrived when I was a little boy to the UK, I’ve experienced hate crime. I’ve been called names, been beaten up, not just once, several times.

“When I moved to Watford in 1980, the hate crime continued, and in my position as the chief race relations officer, I have faeces through my letterbox.

"I had raw eggs thrown at my car when I came out from a joint council meeting. I even had a brick thrown through my window in the house and putting my wife and children at risk.

“We went for a walk a couple of years ago with my wife and my two children and we were spat on by young people and they were calling us all sorts of names.”

Mr Mistry said he reported the incident to the police and then to the press. He said the press took up his article and raised the issue and then the police apologised but there was no real outcome.

“During the Brexit time, I was going to a supermarket shopping and a family with his children in his car, wound down his window, and said ‘why don’t you go back to your own land – we don’t want you here.’ I took a picture of that car and the occupants.

“And I thought do I really want to report this to the police. And I should do, because the position I am in in Hertfordshire, I should report that to the police. I came home and I mentioned this to my wife and she said ‘don’t bother because nothing’s going to happen.

“And that’s the feeling you get, so if I get this feeling of not being supported, then what is the hope for other people out there?”

“What you need is people who are in the community who understand the community, who can engage with the community.

"At the same time link with the police officers, link with the police forces itself and also link with the Crown Prosecution Service.

"Then become the conduit, then become the support, then become the understanding. That is what you want, a service that is transparent but is engaging everybody around.

“At the moment you’ve got HCPB at one side and you’ve got the community on the other side. There is no trust in the police. And I think it can easily be repaired.”

Mr Mistry said HEC is the only body on the panel that does not get paid but it brings the community voice and element.

He added: “You talk about the hate crime strategy Mr Chairman, trust me, one thing that has been missed out is the fact that our contribution on the strategy is of the highest level possible.

"If we didn’t interject and insisted on the question that should be asked as part of that strategy, then that would not have gone anywhere near the quality and the standard it is now.”