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North Yorkshire Police backs new national hate crime awareness campaign

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North Yorkshire Police along with the Police and Crime Commissioner are backing a new nationwide hate crime campaign launched by the government and aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of what constitutes a hate crime.

The campaign has been developed in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime and other organisations, to help the public understand hate crime, particularly offences which often people do not recognise as criminal, such as some forms of online and verbal abuse.

This includes educating perpetrators who have been motivated by hostility towards the victim’s race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability that they have committed a hate crime.

The strapline of the campaign sends a clear message about what hate crime is:

‘If you target anyone with verbal, online or physical abuse because of their religion, race, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity – you may be committing a hate crime. It’s not just offensive. It’s an offence.’

Commenting, Superintendent Mark Khan, lead in force for hate crime said:

“Our message is clear – to target hate at a person because of their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender is a crime.

“It can devastate lives and make people change their behaviour just because of what they are.

“We’re proud to support this national campaign which gives clear examples of hate crime and sends a message that not only is this behaviour unacceptable, it is a criminal offence.

“This is just one part of the ongoing work by North Yorkshire Police to tackle hate crime to ensure this appalling behaviour is stamped out in our county.

‘It’s important for people to report hate incidents to us or a third party, such as Supporting Victims.

“We take hate speech and hate incidents seriously because by dealing with the early signs of prejudice we prevent escalation to more serious offences.”

The campaign launched last week with adverts running on video-on-demand sites, social media and posters to be displayed across the country.

Each video or poster features a different offender, represented by an e-fit, and a hate crime taking place.

These include:

  • a lesbian couple being verbally abused at a bar
  • racist graffiti being sprayed on the shop of a foreign couple
  • an offender posting hate-filled messages about a transgender woman online
  • a Muslim woman being aggressively shouted at to remove her headscarf and a Jewish man being abused in the street
  • a disabled man being verbally abused on a bus

The campaign seeks to reassure communities at risk of hate crime that the government takes this seriously and to publicly address the attitudes and beliefs that foster hate crime and re-establish boundaries around not targeting people on the basis of their identify.

The campaign website also signposts organisations where victims and witnesses can get the support they need.

Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s elected Police and Crime Commissioner, said:

“Having spoken to many victims of Hate Crime, I know the shattering impact it can have.  To be targeted because of who you are is absolutely unacceptable.  I welcome this campaign and the efforts of the police and others, like our Supporting Victims service, are putting in to make all of us, especially minority groups, feel safer.

“I have said this many times before, but Hate Crime remains chronically under reported in my opinion.  We need to do everything we can to give victims confidence to come forward, and then make sure we support them properly when they do.  This campaign takes us a step closer to that goal.”

Along with the CPS, the Home Office consulted with the Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, which includes groups such as Stop Hate UK, Tell MAMA, Community Security Trust (CST), Stonewall and Galop.

The launch comes after statistics showed 94,098 hate crimes were recorded by police in England and Wales in the year to March 2018.

The campaign forms part of the government’s wider programme of work to tackle hate crime. Earlier this month the government updated its hate crime action plan, which included:

  • asking the Law Commission to review hate crime legislation
  • further funding for community groups to tackle hate crime
  • extending the Places of Worship Security Scheme for a fourth year

To report a hate crime please dial 101 or in an emergency, always dial 999.

Alternatively, if victims or witnesses do not wish to speak to the police the following organisations can be contacted for further advice and support:

Find out about the Home Office’s new campaign here: hatecrime.campaign.gov.uk

For more information about hate crime in North Yorkshire visit: northyorkshire.police.uk/hatecrime

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last modified: November 8, 2018