A national week-long campaign to raise awareness of hate crimes and how to report them begins tomorrow (Saturday 8 October).
National Hate Crime Awareness Week (NationalHCAW) has been marked since 2012, and evolved out of the vigils against hate crime held between 2009 and 2012 which were organised after the death of Ian Baynham in 2009.
17-24-30 NationalHCAW, the organisation that organised the national week, was founded in 2009 to mark the 10th anniversaries of the London Nail Bomb attacks on Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho.
The campaign sets out to raise awareness of the work carried out by local authorities such as the police and councils, supported by key partners and communities, on a daily basis to tackle local issues and encourage all forms of hate crime to be challenged.
It is supported by figureheads including Baroness Lawrence - mother of Stephen Lawrence - and former Prime Minister David Cameron.
The campaign themes for this year are: No Place for Hate, Safe Place for All, We Stand Together and Spread Love not Hate.
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
Leicestershire Police continually support NationalHCAW. Specific hate crime beat surgeries will be run during the week, please refer to your local neighbourhood team’s social media feeds for dates and times of the session closest to you.
A social media campaign will also be launched today. This will appear on all force channels and provides a link to the Stamp it Out website for people to report hate crimes.
Sumaya Bihi is the forces' Hate Crime Officer. Her role is to support victims of hate crime, offer victim services, review all hate crime incidents as well as participate in a number of independent advisory groups, scrutiny panels and partnership boards for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Sumaya is a civilian member of staff, and not a Police Officer.
Within force she delivers hate crime training for new recruits, serving officers and police staff.
Sumaya said: “As a force we take hate crime seriously - this is a message I want to reiterate far and wide.
“I will continue my work with our communities to build confidence and to encourage people to report hate crime to us via the Stamp It Out website.
“Throughout the week I will be engaging with various schools, community groups, faith groups and leaders as well as internal teams, partner agencies and communities to raise awareness on the subject of hate crime.”
Chief Inspector Rich Jackson said: “It's important to all of us that we're involved in Hate Crime Awareness Week and we know that hate crimes have a disproportionate impact on victims (including police officers and staff), their families and the wider community.
“We want our communities to know that we take all reports of hate crime very seriously and that there is support available for them.
“We continue vital work with partners and the local community to support victims, encourage people to report these crimes. We encourage anyone who suffers hate crime, or receives a serious threat against them to report it to the police or via Stamp it Out.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews said: “No incident of hate crime or discrimination is acceptable, on whatever premise and cause. Such crimes are the result of deeply-entrenched thought processes, perceptions and stereotypes that have no place in a modern world. These perceptions must be broken down and eradicated at every level and in every organisation. Only at this point will hate crime cease to exist.
“Prejudice is never acceptable. It is vital that anyone suffering from such repugnant behaviour comes forward and reports it.
“Too many people, sadly, live in silence and fear. The only way of resolving this is to increase confidence in our support mechanisms and justice process to encourage more vulnerable victims to come forward. This is very much a priority in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.”
You can follow the events of National Hate Crime Awareness week on Twitter using the hashtags #SpreadLoveNotHate and #NationalHCAW or follow @LPStaySafe.