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North Yorkshire Police’s No Home Here campaign continues throughout March and this month the campaign focuses on the devastating effect of hate crime, on both victims and communities.

Hate crime causes division and fear and North Yorkshire Police is keen to stress that it’s not just victims of hate crime who can make a report to police; communities themselves can stop the damaging effects of hate crime, by reporting any incidents witnessed.

Hate crime is defined as any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s actual or perceived disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. In May 2017 North Yorkshire Police added misogyny into its hate crime policy.

In the last year alone police have received reports of 263 hate crimes and 52 hate incidents, with 60% of those being racially motivated.

Examples of recent cases dealt with at court include a man being sentenced to ten months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, for physically and verbally racially abusing bar staff, a man being given a 12 month community order and being ordered to pay £805 in fines and costs for racially abusing and assaulting a police officer and a man being sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for religiously abusing a doctor who was treating him in hospital and assaulting a security guard.

Speaking about the campaign Superintendent Mark Khan, lead in force for hate crime said:

“Throughout my career as a police officer, I have seen first-hand the devastating effect hate crime has on its victims and the damage done to communities.

“Being singled out and targeted with verbal or physical abuse, or having your property damaged because of your race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identify is incredibly intimidating.

“Offences like these causes people to live in fear and change their daily behaviour, in the attempt to avoid further unprovoked attacks. Some victims feel isolated and helpless and believe that this abuse is a way of life, that they have to accept the behaviour which is targeted at them.

“For the good of the communities we live in, we cannot let this type of behaviour go unnoticed or unchallenged. North Yorkshire Police want to ensure that those who inflict hate know; it will not be accepted and it will not be tolerated.

“It is not just down to victims to report hate crime. Local communities themselves can take a stand, speak out and not give hate crime a home in their own neighbourhoods, by reporting incidents they may have witnessed to police.

“The most important thing is to not accept this behaviour and not let it hide within our communities – report it. By reporting it, we can stop it.”

“Hate crime is not political correctness gone mad, it is not restricting an individual’s right to free speech.  These are real crimes like vandalism, graffiti, arson, cyberbullying, offensive communications,  physical and verbal attacks or financial exploitation – all of which are motivated by prejudice and hate, both of which have no home here.”

You can report hate crime to North Yorkshire Police by calling 101, or in the case of an emergency dial 999.

You can also seek support and advice and access further services such as counselling by contacting Supporting Victims in North Yorkshire