Posted on 08:01:00 on 5th February 2018
Today is the start of Hate Crime Awareness Week 2018 (5th - 11th February).
Cumbria Constabulary is supporting this week, which aims to raise awareness of what hate crime is, how to respond to it, to encourage reporting and to promote local services and resources.
As part of this we will be asking the public to “take a stand” and coping or sharing into their social media a pledge not to be a bystander if they see hate crime occurring, the pledge states:
Not to be a bystander to hate crime.
I’m proud that Cumbria is a place where everyone is free to be themselves: where no one should face violence, abuse or hatred just because of who they are, who they love, where they’re from, what they look like or what they believe.
If I see someone abused like this I won't stand by. I'll take a stand and:
• Support them.
• Challenge their abuser (if it's safe to do so).
• I will always report it.
I make this promise to stand up for a Cumbrian, or anyone visiting this beautiful county, where we all look out for each other, we all stick up for each other, and we all stand together.
Cumbria Constabulary’s awareness week also includes:
• A hate crime conference, 7th February: Officers from Cumbria Constabulary will be joining the University Central Lancashire and over 100 partners. This conference aims to share learning and best practise to provide the public with the best possible service and support when dealing with hate crimes.
• The chance to hear Andrew’s story: Andrew was born with Fragile X syndrome which is on the autistic spectrum. Andrew has been the victim of more than one hate crime, hear Andrew and his mum Christine talk about their experiences and how the police have supported them. Andrew’s story will be published on the constabulary’s social media accounts and website later in the week.
Hate crimes are any crimes that are targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards their disability, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Examples of hate crimes include physical attacks, verbal abuse, damage to property, bullying and threats, abusive gestures and offensive letters, leaflets, emails and texts.
Detective Chief Inspector Roy Ledingham, force lead for Hate Crime, said:
“Firstly, there is no place for hate crime in Cumbria and I urge everyone to make a stand, take the pledge and commit to it.
“Looking at hate crime in Cumbria, we have seen an increase in the reporting of incidents by 22% year on year. This shows that we are making progress in encouraging victims to come forward and report incidents to us.
“We take hate crime extremely seriously and all reports will be fully investigated.
“These types of incidents are regularly unreported so we are continuing to work hard with partners and in local communities to build trust and confidence.
“We go into schools and work with partner agencies to build knowledge of what a hate crime is, and how we can help and support those effected.
“I understand that reporting a hate crime to the police can feel like a daunting process, we recognise this, which is why, in Cumbria, there are more than 50 Hate Incident Reporting Centres where people can report hate crime or hate incidents without having to contact the police directly.
“These centres offer a safe, neutral location within communities where specially trained staff can assist people with reporting.
“Anybody can use this facility regardless of whether they are a victim, witness, or just someone who is aware of information that needs to be reported.”
Cumbria Constabulary is working to spread the message that everyone should be able to live their life free from harassment and every individual can make a difference within our community by making the pledge not to be bystander.
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said:
“I am pleased to support Hate Crime Awareness Week – it is a subject I am really keen to raise awareness of. I hear from victims the long-lasting effect hate crime has on their lives.
“Here in Cumbria lots of good work in underway to educate people and prevent hate crime in the first place. I’ve recently re-commissioned a drama production called ‘Feel the Hate’, which will be delivered in schools across the county explaining to years 9 and 10 what a hate crime is and what they should do. I saw one of the earlier productions and it is immensely hard hitting and I could tell that the message was hitting home.
“Furthermore in terms of young people, the Cumbria Youth Commission that I set up last year have identified areas for improvement in respect of awareness of Hate Crime, and are currently in the process of drawing up an action plan based on their recommendations.
“My Office will also be launching a perpetrator’s programme in the spring which is designed for victims to work with the police to offer restorative justice where deemed proportionate and appropriate for the victim.”
Martin Goldman, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West, said:
“Hate crimes strike at the core of who we are as people.
“It is essential in a tolerant and understanding society that people can live without fear of being hurt or abused simply because their sexuality, race, religion or disability.
“Between April 2016 and March 2017 the CPS in Cumbria prosecuted 86 hate crimes. We gained convictions in over 90% of these cases. I hope this reassures the public that something can and is being done to challenge and prosecute those who commit these offences and we will continue to work closely with our criminal justice partners to bring offenders to justice and support victims.”
Hate Crime can be reported:
• By phone: Call 101 or 999 in an emergency
• Textphone: 18000 – the 101 number for people who are deaf or hearing of speech impaired
• In person: Visit a police station or police desk or approach an officer on patrol
• Online: https://www.cumbria.police.uk/Contact-us/Report-a-Crime/Hate-Crime-Reporting/How-can-I-report-a-Hate-Crime.aspx
• Visiting a Hate Crime Incident Reporting Centre: Full list of centres here https://www.cumbria.police.uk/Contact-us/Report-a-Crime/Hate-Crime-Reporting/Hate-Incident-Reporting-Centres.aspx