Saturday (9 October) saw the start of a national week-long campaign to raise awareness of hate crimes and how they can be reported.
Leicestershire Police have supported National Hate Crime Awareness Week (NHCAW) for the last nine years. It was set up to mark the tenth anniversary of the 1999 nail bomb attacks in London.
The aim of the week is to raise awareness of the work that takes place on a daily basis by local authorities such as the police and councils who work alongside key partners and communities to tackle local issues and encourage all forms of hate crime to be challenged.
There will be a week of activity taking place including engagement with local schools who will be running assemblies and awareness sessions run by local officers and the forces Hate Crime Officer, Isla Dixon. If your school would benefit from one of these sessions please contact Isla via [email protected].
Isla said: “Hate and discrimination divide communities and have far reaching and devastating consequences.
“As a force we actively challenge negative behaviours towards disability, race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity.
“We work closely with partner agencies and communities to promote respect and unity.”
Assistant Chief Constable Julia Debenham said: “Hate crime is not tolerated in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and we would urge anyone affected by hate or discrimination, or anyone who witnesses this unacceptable behaviour taking place, to report incidents to us so that together we can “Say No To Hate” and work together to eliminate it.
“Leicestershire Police is committed to challenging hate it in all its forms – being you is not a crime, being targeted for who you are is.
“NHCAW enables us to promote the work we do throughout the year within our diverse communities and to put a spotlight onto hate crime in order to provide greater awareness and to provide confidence to our communities to report incidents to us.”
Rupert Matthews, Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, said: “Hate crime, which is generally driven by ignorance or prejudice, is a particularly insidious form of crime. It can utterly blight the lives of people who are subjected to this type of behaviour.
“Crimes motivated by hate are personal attacks that can leave victims, who may already have vulnerabilities, feeling powerless and reluctant to report the crime. Sadly, too many victims accept this abhorrent behaviour as par for the course. As a community we need to give people the confidence and the support so that they will not tolerate abuse and are willing to take positive action to bring those responsible to justice.
“To overcome the problem, we need to tackle the root causes. To do this effectively the police, criminal justice agencies and the specialist third sector groups who have an in-depth understanding of the problems people face in dealing with Hate Crime, must work together.
“For my part, I would like to urge anyone who is experiencing or witnesses a hate crime or hate incident to report it. Without this, there will be more victims and those responsible will go unchallenged.”
There will also be a competition running to design a poster or write an essay about hate crime. Local secondary school pupils have been asked to design a poster or write a poem around the theme of ‘Say No to Hate’ and focussing on creating inclusive societies. The top five entries will win a prize and all submissions will be made into a commemorative booklet which will be sent to participating schools.
Hate incidents or hate crimes can be reported to Leicestershire Police on 101 or in an emergency please call 999. You can also report to your local council or anonymously via the Stamp it Out website: http://www.stamp-it-out.co.uk
You can follow the events of National Hate Crime Awareness week on Twitter using hashtag #NationalHCAW or follow @LPStaySafe.