ECC Media Release | Zero tolerance to hate crime launches in Devon

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Media Release | For immediate release
07 October 2016

Zero tolerance to hate crime launches in Devon

A new campaign sends out a clear message that all forms of hate crime are unacceptable

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Zero tolerance to hate crime is the strong message at the core of the new anti-hate crime campaign being launched across Devon during this year’s national hate crime awareness week, which runs from 8th to 15th October.The message is loud and clear: all forms of hate crime are completely unacceptable and will be dealt with robustly. Together with Devon & Cornwall Police, partner agencies and community leaders across Devon are working to prevent hate crime, support victims and deal with the perpetrators in the most appropriate manner.

The definition of hate crime as determined by the Association of the National Police Chief Council (NPCC) and the Crown Prosecution Service states that ‘hate crime is 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 race; religion/belief; sexual orientation; disability or because they are transgender.’

Chief Superintendent Jim Colwell who is the commander for policing across Devon said: “Hate crime of any kind has absolutely no place in society. Hate crime has a harmful and lasting effect on its victims as it seeks to attack an intrinsic part of who a person is. Everyone has a right to feel safe and it is our commitment to identify, protect and safeguard all vulnerable people within our communities and bring offenders to justice.”

Whilst some police forces across the UK are seeing an increase in reports of hate crimes, there are still a large proportion of incidents that go unreported. In the days following the EU referendum, some European nationals were the target of abuse and representatives of other ethnic minority communities reported anxiety about a climate of increased hostility towards people identified as foreigners.

“It is utterly unacceptable that people should suffer abuse or attacks because of their nationality or ethnic background” added Ch.Supt Colwell. “We must stand together against hate crime and ensure that it is stamped out.”

David Wright, a representative from Safer Devon Partnerships which is funding the campaign said: “We are determined that the ‘zero approach to hate crime’ message is not confined to just one week, but one that is sounded out all year round… with this in mind, we will be allocating funding to continue the campaign after hate crime awareness week is over. Our country thrives precisely because of the rich co-existence of people of different backgrounds, faiths and ethnicities; and that rich co-existence is something we must treasure and strive to protect.”

As part of the national hate crime awareness week, police in Devon will be carrying out a programme of activities including drop-in sessions and workshops.

Sergeant Sally Kingdon said: “Hate crime awareness week is a great opportunity for us to raise awareness about the harmful effects that hate crime has on a victim. We would like people to feel confident about reporting hate crime to us and be confident that we will provide the help and support they need.”

We urge everyone to pledge their support to the ‘zero tolerance to hate crime’ campaign by using the hashtag #ZeroTolerance2Hate and putting the pledge logo onto their social media profiles.

“It is a matter of priority that we raise awareness and enhance society’s understanding of hate crime” added Ch.Supt Colwell.

Cllr Paul Bull, Lead Councillor for Communities and Neighbourhoods said: “I am proud that Exeter is a diverse and tolerant city and the City Council does its utmost to ensure that the city is a welcoming and safe place for all.

“A recent motion taken at Full Council outlined our commitment to work with local partners to combat all forms of hate crime. This new campaign to bring zero tolerance to hate crime is to be welcomed and I look forward to spreading this strong message, not only during Hate Crime Awareness Week, but throughout the rest of the year and for many years to come.”

 

 

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First | No place for hate

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No.604 | October 2016

No place for hate crime

by Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board

Councils are best placed to tackle the challenges posed by reported increases in hate crime

National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2016 [08-15 October] is all the more relevant this year. Hate crime report to the police in the last 2 years of July were 49% on the same period in 2015.

The charity Stop Hate UK – which organises the awareness week – saw a 60% increase in reports in late June and referred 40% more cases to the police. Racially-motivated reports more than doubledd.

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Post-referendum racism and xenophobia: abuse reported online [courtesy Worrying Signs/StreetWatch/PostRefAbuse]
Incidents included xenophobic graffiti [for example on the Polish Social and Cultural Association in Hammersmith], arson against a Polish family in Devon, anti-immigation cards distributed outside a primary school, physical assaults and verbal abuse.

Although attacks are perpetrated by a tiny minority – the local community in Hammersmith was quick to offer the Polish Centre sympathy and moral support – both David Cameron and his successor as Prime Minister, Theresa May, have spoken of the need to tackle hate crime, and the Government has published a fresh action plan – Action Against Hate: The UK Goverment’s plan to tackling hate crime [26 July 2016].

Local government has a vital role in building community cohesion and combating extremism. The impact of hate incidents and crimes on both individuals and local areas is far-reaching. Victims are more likely to suffer serious and longer lasting damage when they have been targeted in this way, and the anxiety and tension this causes can permeate entire communities.

As soon as it became that we were facing an increase in incidents, the LGA provided a collection of documents and links on our website [see Community Cohesion and Hate Crime resource]. The page contains useful contacts, guidance, case studies, toolkits and other resources.

Councils are already doing much to combat hate crime.

For example, Essex has established a Strategic Hate Crime Prevention Partnership, bringing together schools, police and voluntary organisations, and using social media to encourage reporting and deliver sessions to schoolchildren.

Birmingham City Council has created a faith map to show the contribution faiths make to life in the city.

Tower Hamlets has a No Place for Hate Forum which brings together the council and key agencies to co-ordinate responses to race and hate crime.

Manchester has worked closely with voluntary and community partners, including housing providers, to establish reporting centres across the city. Each organisation has received training and signed up to a set of standards that support them to deal with incidents.

And Derbyshire has organised hate crime awareness training for staff, partner agencies, housing providers, third sector organisations, and police, probation and fire & rescue services.

Every community is different, and councils are best placed to tackle the challenges each faces. A great deal of good work is being done by the sector, and National Hate Crime Awareness Week offers us an opportunity to promote it and encourage our communities.

Further reading:
Stop Hate UK: Hate crime reporting post-Brexit

PostRefRacism: Post-referendum racism and xenophobia: the role of social media in challenging the normalisation of xeno-racist narratives