Warwickshire is a safe place to live, work and visit. However, for some it may not feel that way and last year we had over 200 victims of hate crime in the county. Whilst this is lower than the national average, we are not complacent. Working alongside the Police, District and Borough Councils, schools and voluntary organisations, we are trying to tackle hate crime together. As it is National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2015 this week, I thought I would take this opportunity to highlight some of the initiatives that Warwickshire County Council delivers to address hate crime.
Countywide Hate Crime Action Plan
Our Community Safety Team is currently leading on a countywide action plan to improve education, increase reporting and support the successful management of hate crime offenders. The action plan themes mirror those in the national strategy: “Challenge it, Report it, Stop it”.
New Governance Structures
We have recently established a partnership hate crime group to oversee delivery of the county action plan. The group has met twice and going forward will be chaired by Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Eric Wood. We will also be establishing Hate Incident Partnerships (known as HIPS) across the county to review intelligence and initiatives locally. With support from the Police and Crime Commissioner, Ron Ball, and The Warwickshire Race Equality Partnership, we are building on the strong partnership we have in Warwickshire to improve our response to hate crime in the county.
We have commissioned a piece of research to look at the victim’s journey following their hate crime report. The research will look at what services we have and what is missing, to ensure every victim gets the support they need.
Warwickshire County Council launched the Safe Places Scheme following a consultation with people with learning disabilities. 50% of those people who took part in the consultation said that they had been a victim of hate crime. Safe Places are community places (e.g. a shop, community centre) where you can go to get help if you feel unsafe or at risk when you are out and about. We have Safe Places across the county.
To support people with learning difficulties our colleagues in the People Group have a Keep Safe Task Force. To find out more visit their website at http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/keepingsafe
An online learning package has been developed for those want to understand more about both hate and mate crime. This course is free and available to anyone: Understanding Hate and Mate Crime
We take dealing with hate crime seriously. Across organisations people are working together to reduce it further, but we can’t do this without you. If you have been a victim and didn’t report it, please do report it. The police are there to help you and support is available. Don’t suffer alone, we are here to help. Call Warwickshire Police on 101 to report incidents or Crimestoppers (the only independent crime fighting charity) on 0800 555 111 if you want to remain anonymous.
Head of Localities and Community Safety
Warwickshire County Council