During National Hate Crime Week WCC and Warwickshire Police ran a series of blogs. We thought some were worth re-running. Today’s re-issued blog is from the perspective from the Police and Crime Commissioner
Being hated for who you are or what your beliefs are.
Suffering abuse just because of the colour of your skin.
Being made to feel inferior because you are different.
Suffering persecution because of your religion or sexuality.
Being ridiculed for having a disability.
All of these things share the same characteristic – as the victim the perception is you can do little to stop them happening as they are based on someone else’s prejudice. Their impact can be devastating. They also have one other thing in common; each of the examples has the potential to be a hate crime.
As Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, it’s my job to make sure that the proper mechanisms are in place to ensure that victims have the right support and the confidence to report hate crime. Equally, I ensure that the police are similarly well-placed to investigate and bring offenders to justice, working with a range of partners across the county.
It is a sad fact that hate crime is currently under-reported – nationally and more specifically here in Warwickshire. Research commissioned by Warwickshire County Council last year estimated that as many as half of all hate crimes go unreported. This is a figure that we are working hard to dramatically improve.
In March, we held a workshop to look at the ways of challenging under-reporting and to bring together the learning and best practice from around the UK. Out of this came the ‘Warwickshire Action Plan to Tackle Hate Crime’, which identifies a wide range of activities for the police, county, district and borough councils, Community Safety Partnerships and organisations such as Victim Support.
To provide oversight and direction for this work, a countywide Hate Crime Group will be chaired by my deputy, Dr Eric Wood, and will meet quarterly and report to the Safer Warwickshire Partnership Board. Locally, each district and borough will also have a Hate Incident Partnership, independently chaired and with membership from a variety of voluntary and community representatives, reflecting the local demographics. They will look at anonymised reported hate crimes to understand the emerging themes, design and deliver specific local actions and help to promote reporting of hate crime. While this is all still very much work in progress, it is a very positive example of how working together in partnership can deliver tangible results on the ground.
In the meantime there is one practical thing that we can all do to help combat hate crime; if you see it occurring, don’t ‘turn a blind eye’. Standing idle while someone is being victimised only serves to heighten the sense of humiliation and isolation they feel. By doing nothing, you serve to add weight to the perpetrator’s actions; by reporting what you see and simply offering the victim a helping hand afterwards you are helping to reinforce to everyone that hate crime is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
In Warwickshire, 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.