Councillors stand together in condemnation of abuse
Councillors stood together to condemn racism, xenophobia and hate crimes amid national concerns following the European Union referendum.
Worthing Borough Council unanimously supported a motion on Tuesday, pledging to continue to work with the community to fight and prevent abuse.
Sussex Police has confirmed a small increase in reporting of hate crime across the county since the referendum – a spike reflected across the country.
Councillor Paul Baker said: “We have heard a lot tonight about redevelopment which is welcome but redevelopment is just bricks and mortar.
“What really makes a town great is an all-encompassing society that supports all members and always disagrees with any racism, xenophobia or any basis of hate crime.”
The motion was proposed by councillor Paul Yallop, in response to requests from numerous residents.
He said: “As community leaders we should condemn these actions. The people who make these (remarks) are often bigoted and small-minded and are a small minority of people.”
Mr Yallop called on the borough’s two UKIP councillors to condemn a poster featuring Syrian refugees, which caused controversy during the referendum campaign.
Northbrook UKIP councillor Mark Withers spoke out against abuse, which he said could also include Brexit voters who were derided for their choice.
“I abhor any attitude to demean, abuse, verbally or physically, anyone of another race of another country,” he said.
Liberal Democrat leader Hazel Thorpe welcomed the motion but called for it to be backed by resources.
Mayor Sean McDonald referenced abuse suffered by Adur councillor Sami Zeglam as evidence of local incidents.
Councillors urged anyone affected to report incidents to police via 101.