From Devon & Cornwall Police:
Saturday 10 October marks the start of Hate Crime Awareness Week across the UK – a national week of action that aims to encourage local authorities, key partners and communities affected by hate crime to work together to tackle local hate crime issues.
Hate Crime Awareness week also wants to bring people together to stand in solidarity with those affected by hate crime, to remember those we have lost, and support those who need ongoing support.
There are normally a significant number of events taking place across Devon and Cornwall. Due to Covid19 most of these will now take place virtually, with a small number of Covid Secure events happening in person. These are held to review and celebrate the work that is being undertaken by our communities in our efforts to make the two counties that we live and work in as tolerant and inclusive as possible.
Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer, said: “Targeting someone because of who they are, their lifestyle and what they believe in is simply wrong. Unfortunately, prejudice exists in our communities and many people know of or have heard about someone who has been subjected to a hate crime.
“My message is clear: I wish the public to continue to report hate-related incidents to us; without these matters being shared with us, we cannot get a true reflection on this crime. The effects are momentous not just for the individual but also the resulting impact throughout communities.”
Devon & Cornwall Police are working hard with partners and the community to try and increase the reporting of both Hate Crime and Hate Incidents. Crime surveys across England & Wales show that Hate Crime is under reported. It is for this reason that Devon & Cornwall Police are working hard to increase confidence in communities to report such crimes. Without such reports it become more difficult to tackle the attitude and behaviour of the offenders and give support to those affected.
Devon & Cornwall Police have recently launched a new online reporting tool that can be found on our website or by clicking here. This can be done anonymously and is not limited to victims of Hate Crime.
Devon & Cornwall Police lead for Hate Crime Chief Superintendent James Gale, said: “It is vitally important to raise awareness and understanding of hate crime because this type of offending seeks to attack someone’s personal identity and as a result can have a significant impact on a victim’s life, and that of their friends and family.
“From engaging with our communities, we know that hate crime is under-reported. We want to encourage victims and witnesses of hate crime to report to the police so that we can respond and keep people safe from harm and abuse as well as ensure support can be offered in line with a person’s needs.
There are so many ways that reports can be made including online, e-mail as well as by phone (101 or 999), or via a third party. There are also SMS text facilities for the Deaf and hard of hearing.”
Devon & Cornwall Police has recorded a 6.9 per cent increase in reporting over the last 12 months. Of the current six reported strands of hate crime – racist, homophobic, disabilist, transphobic, religion/belief and sex/gender there have been a rise in reporting which supports the view that all these groups are becoming more confident in reporting.
Work is far from done and there are countless victims living in our community that are blighted by the behaviour and actions of others and it is only together that we can try to create the confidence in these people to reach out for support.
While Hate Crime Awareness Week is only one week out of 52, engagement and support of our communities to combat Hate Crime will continue throughout the year. To that end we continue to promote our campaign ‘Zero Tolerance to Hate Crime’, where we are encouraging businesses and premises across the two counties to sign up to the pledge and demonstrate that their school, library, taxi or fast food establishment is an area or location where prejudice and hatred has no place.
By pledging your support you will:
• promote an equal society to uphold the rights of everyone and we will work to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and unfair treatment
• foster good relations by promoting respect for each other and tackling prejudice
• report any incidents of hate that are witnessed within our organisation / premises
For more information about the pledge please read About the Zero Tolerance Campaign.
On completion of the pledge you will be sent an email receipt so that you can collect a ‘Zero Tolerance to Hate Crime’ pack which includes a variety of posters and stickers.
Fill in why you are supporting National Hate Crime Awareness Week and take a photo to share on Social Media, #ZeroTolerance2Hate