Former Skegness mayor accuses Lincolnshire authorities of ignoring racism

A three-time mayor of Skegness has accused Lincolnshire authorities of ignoring allegations of racism, widening social division and failing to crackdown on abuse over social networking sites.

Coun Mark Anderson says he has grave concerns over Lincolnshire Police’s capability to investigate high profile racism allegations - such as the claims made against UKIP’s Coun Chris Pain - having experienced the force’s ‘flippant’ attitude to such offences first hand.

“I find it so hypocritical that they claim to be investigating the allegations when they completely ignored complaints I made a year ago - they speak with forked tongues,” he said.

UKIP yesterday announced it was ‘suspending judgement’ about Coun Pain’s future with the party, pending the outcome of Lincolnshire Police’s investigation into the claims he had made offensive remarks about immigrants over Facebook.

Coun Anderson claims unrelated allegations he made about racist Facebook comments last year were ‘swept under the carpet’ despite an officer from another force agreeing they warranted prosecution.

He has accused Lincolnshire County Council of being equally dismissive of such complaints, despite its duties to promote equality.

“The police and county council have done absolutely nothing,” he said.

“They have just swept it under the carpet and let it bleed out into society.”

The former mayor fears the authorities’ cavalier attitude to racial abuse, both reflects and influences Lincolnshire’s social views.

“There are a whole host of racists in Skegness and Lincolnshire and I really do fear that these authorities are not taking the problem seriously enough,” he said.

“There’s going to be social unrest on the streets - that’s how bad its going to be.”

Both authorities have expressed their staunch commitment to promoting equality and cracking down on racial abuse.

Detective Inspector Andy Wardell says the force takes all forms of harassment ‘extremely seriously’.

“This includes most particularly racially aggravated cases whereby comments are made verbally, in the printed word or equally published via the internet and social networking sites which are outwardly racist, could be perceived by anyone to be racist or with the intent of causing tension or hatred between any ethnic groups,” he said.

“Whilst individual cases may not necessarily be discussed by us or widely advertised we have had success at pursuing cases of this nature.”

Although he acknowledges to his #great regret’ there are occasions when there is insufficient evidence to prosecute, DI Wardell stresses that the force deals with all hate crimes ‘as robustly as we are able’.

The county council’s executive director for performance and governance, David O’Connor, said: “We do not tolerate racism of any sort and have an equal opportunities policy which makes it clear to staff how we would expect them to be treated and how we expect them to treat others.

“We also expect members of the council to act in this way and would take appropriate steps if any issues were reported to management.”

Coun Anderson will be questioning Lincolnshire Police’s representative at tonight’s Skegness Town Council meeting.

“Are the police enforcing race relations laws in respect of racial comments posted on social media, especially with regard to comments posted that could incite racial discrimination or create racial tension?” he will ask.