Swansea Council Racism Reports Rise For Another Year

Racist incidents at Swansea Council have rocketed for another year.The number reported has gone up by more than 50 per cent. Council chiefs have put the latest increase down to greater awareness and confidence that complaints will be taken seriously.

But a racial equality body said more incidents could be going unreported.

In 2005/06 the number of racial incidents reported by staff working for the authority rose to 108 compared to 69 in 2004/05.

The figure is revealed in the annual review of the council’s race equality scheme, which shows a sharp increase in reports of racial incidents every year since 2001/02.

The highest number of incidents was recorded by the housing department followed by education.

In August, 2005, the council adopted its second race equality scheme, built on its first which ran from May, 2002, to April, 2005.

A South Wales Racial Equality Council spokesman said he was alarmed by the number of incidents.

“These are only reported cases, there may be many more which aren’t.”

“From the figures, there seems to be a definite problem at Swansea Council which needs to be addressed.”

The report states the increase in reports is due to “raised awareness of the reporting procedure and increased confidence that incidents will be dealt with.”

Steps to further improve the reporting procedure will be discussed at this week’s cabinet meeting.

Cabinet member for top performance and e-government Mary Jones said racist incidents would not be tolerated by the council.

“I don’t think there’s a problem with racism at the council,” she said.

“It’s just that we have a better system in place and more people are aware and have used it. We take racist incidents reported seriously and we will work with partner agencies to stamp out racism in the city.”

Racial incidents reported at Swansea Council: 2001/02: 1; 2002/03: 14; 2003/04: 31; 2004/05: 69; 2005/06: 108.