My response to South Swindon residents on the death of George Floyd

Thank you for contacting me about the shocking and appalling death of George Floyd in America and the ongoing protests.

We have seen shocking and distressing scenes in the days since the tragic death of George Floyd on 25th May. The images of his brutal killing have horrified people all across the world and like you, I was incredibly shocked and distressed by this footage. I understand that the police officer involved in the incident has been charged with second-degree murder and the three other officers on scene during the killing were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and there will be a federal review. Justice must be served.

I know from your emails and messages that you have deep sympathy for Mr Floyd’s family and the victims of racism across the world, and I share this with you. I fully support the right to lawful and peaceful protest, within the current social distancing guidelines, however, like the majority of us, I have been distressed by the scenes of rioting and violence across America and I urge all sides to de-escalate these tensions. We all want to see America come back together and not tear itself apart over this incredibly distressing incident.

Long before becoming an MP, as a Lawyer, the issue of hate crime, concerned me. It is abhorrent when someone is targeted because of their actual or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability, it is a criminal offence and the law provides additional penalties for such crimes.

In my previous role as Solicitor General, I continued my work to tackle this issue, encouraging victims to come forward and report these hate crimes. I was glad to see that following my campaign, we saw record levels of convictions. One incident of hate crime is one too many and those responsible need to be brought to justice.

It is clear that we still have a lot of work to do, and as Justice Secretary, I will continue to work hard to ensure that victims of crime, due to their actual or perceived race, have the confidence to report these crimes and know that they will be taken seriously and that prosecutors are fully trained in handling all cases.

Thank you for your email, this increased consciousness is welcome. We all need to do better to end racism, sometimes that means tackling your own racial biases, and sometimes that means confronting others in our friendship groups, families and communities. There is no place for discrimination in our society.