Merseyside Police and the community are working together to support National Hate Crime Awareness Week
2 months ago
This week Merseyside Police is supporting National Hate Crime Awareness Week, a week of action to encourage communities to come together to help eliminate hate crime.
Hate crime can involve people being targeted based on their disability, gender identity, race, religion and sexual orientation. Merseyside Police expand these strands further and also monitor hate crime against those who sex work, which is seen as unique but often best practice for the support provided. The force believes that every person in Merseyside has the right to go about their lives without being the target of abusive language or criminal behaviour motivated by hate or prejudice.
To help ensure that all Hate Crime is managed, recorded and investigated in a robust manner, the force employs five dedicated Hate Crime Coordinators to cover the whole of Merseyside. Each coordinator provides specialist advice and support for all Hate Crime victims and works with partner agencies to identify and develop strategies to prevent and reduce repeat offences.
The coordinators also work with their local authorities, education providers, travel companies and businesses to provide them with the tools and resources that will encourage them to call out and challenge hate when they see it. We acknowledge that not all victims of hate crime would wish for police action or for prosecution, so if more organisations have the awareness and methods to confront the issue, this helps our ploy to bring the offender to justice.
To support the week of action, there are a range of activities happening across Merseyside to help prevent hate crime and increase awareness of the support available to anyone affected.
In the Liverpool area, officers will be providing hate crime awareness sessions to the youth players at Everton Football club, a key number of primary schools and the job centres based in the city centres. These sessions are designed to raise the understanding of what constitutes as a hate crime, as well as how and when to report it.
In addition to this, Liverpool City Safe Partnership, of which Merseyside Police are partners, have recently funded and coordinated the creation of a new education play for schools (primary and secondary), to raise awareness of Hate Crime – ‘Reckless’. The play focuses upon the impact of those who perpetrate hate crime. The play has delivered to various Liverpool schools and will continue over coming weeks and has been very well received.
Detective Superintendent Cheryl Rhodes said:
“Merseyside has a reputation for being a welcoming, friendly place and there is no place here for hate crime. Everybody has the right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect and so we will not tolerate hate crime in any form.
“Our officers and team of dedicated hate crime co-ordinators work tirelessly to provide support to victims of hate crime, investigate such incidences and find those responsible, bringing them to justice.
“We work closely with partner organisations including LCR Pride, the Michael Causer Foundation, Citizens Advice Liverpool, local councils, and licenced premises across Merseyside to understand community concerns, educate people on the harm that hate causes in our communities, and develop our awareness and encourage reporting.
“We also support the Police and Crime Commissioner and partners on the ‘You’re Safe Here’ scheme to create safe spaces in venues across the Liverpool City Region. This involves delivering training and resources to enable them to support someone that has been the victim of a crime, feels intimidated or is in need of assistance.
“By working collaboratively with our partners, I am pleased to report that Merseyside has seen a 10% decrease in Hate Crime reports for the last 6 months, compared to the same period this time last year. That being said, Hate Crime is still very much an ongoing issue, so I would still urge for anyone who believes they have been subjected to abuse or left in fear because of who they are to come forward and let us know. We have the support available and we will take action against those responsible.”
Councillor Laura Robertson-Collins, Liverpool’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said:
“No-one should receive abuse because of the colour of their skin, their sexuality, religion, or if they are disabled. Raising awareness of the issue and giving people the confidence to report crimes and get support is absolutely vital.”
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said:
“Tackling hate crime is a priority for me and National Hate Crime Awareness Week gives us all the opportunity to highlight the real damage that hatred and prejudice can inflict on individuals and communities, whilst also providing us with a platform to celebrate the rich diversity that exists across Merseyside.
“Crimes motivated by hate have no place in our region and they will not be tolerated, so I’m pleased to come together with our partners to send out the message – loud and clear – that Merseyside is inclusive and welcomes all. It is home to people of all races and faiths, of all sexual orientations and genders and to people of all abilities, and our communities are enriched as a result.
“Sadly, we know that if stereotypes and hate-fuelled attitudes are allowed to fester and are not tackled at the earliest stage they can lead to very serious crimes that can have devastating consequences on many lives.
“Despite the pain and suffering that hate crime inflicts, we know most people who are targeted still do not report it. That’s why we’re determined to raise awareness of the issue and I would encourage anyone affected to have the confidence to speak out.
“For anyone who does not feel comfortable speaking to the police, I commission the independent charity Stop Hate UK to provide a confidential reporting helpline available 24 hours a day. This means anybody affected can report it anonymously without speaking to the police.
“I also work with three fantastic local charities, the Anthony Walker Foundation, Daisy Inclusive UK and Citizens Advice Liverpool, to provide emotional support, practical assistance and information to anyone affected.
“I hope this week of activity will give more victims the confidence to speak out and get the support they need so they can live free from fear. Please don’t suffer in silence.”
If you have witnessed a hate crime, or have any information, please contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook Merseyside Police Contact Centre. You can also call 101.
If, for any reason, you do not wish to the report to the police, Stop Hate UK will ensure you get the appropriate emotional and practical support. They offer a free, confident and accessible 24/7 reporting service for all victims of hate crime, including multi-lingual reporting, the Stop Hate UK app, phone line 0800 138 1625 and webchat www.stophateuk.org.
Anyone affected by hate crime can visit www.victimcaremerseyside.org for help, advice and to get the contact details for organisations which can offer support.