Racist graffiti case involved disabled victim

25 March 2015

Graffiti (794px * 306px)

THE VICTIMS of a recent act of racially motivated vandalism included a disabled young man, Travellers' Times has learned.

In January this year, a woman of Irish Traveller ethnicity reported to the Metropolitan Police that the words "PIKIE SCUM" had been spraypainted across her home.

The victim, who does not wish to be named, said: "I came here ten years ago with four children. One of my sons is registered disabled, it affected him worse. He had to be put on sleeping tablets and anti-depressants."

“We had to live in there for two weeks before they moved me, we had to stay there. Do you really think I deserve to live like this, because of where I come from? I'm not an animal," she said. 

Officers did attend and speak to the victim, but the Metroplitan Police did not comment on her further allegation that a constable had left a graffiti removal kit with a card saying he had called, and suggested the victim should get her children to clean the graffiti off. 

The Brighton-based Gypsy and Traveller support organisation Friends, Families and Travellers reminded the Metropolitan Police of evidence that getting victims of hate crime to clean up the scene can cause further psychological harm.

Enfield Council were contacted by Travellers' Times for comment, but none had been received at the time of going to press.

The Metropolitan Police stated that "if any further evidence comes to light it will be investigated."

"Pikie/Pikey" is a word which is considered racist and deeply offensive by Gypsies and Travellers. It originates from the fact that Travellers used to camp by the side of highways once known as "turnpikes".

The BBC Trust recently ruled that Jeremy Clarkson's use of the word "Pikey" on its Top Gear programme was not necessarily racist against Gypsies and Travellers, even though it clearly originates from a reference to Travellers. Gypsy and Traveller organisations and individuals have expressed concern that the BBC's judgement effectively condones anti-Gypsy and Traveller racism.