[C]umbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall is supporting the national Hate Crime Awareness Week aimed at raising the profile of hate crime and encouraging people to come forward to report if they have been a victim of crime.
Hate crime is motivated by prejudice towards any aspect of an individual’s identity such as a disability, sexuality, race or religion. Whilst Cumbria does not have a huge Hate Crime problem compared to national figures, from April 2015 to March 2016, 363 hate crimes were reported.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall said: “There is no place in Cumbria for hate crime. I want to give the very clear message that hate crime will not be tolerated.
“I hear from victims the long-lasting effect hate crime has on their lives. They often suffer in silence for too long and there is simply no excuse for someone to be subjected to such abuse and crimes. My commitment is that I want to encourage people to come forward and report hate crime. I know in some circumstances how difficult this can be.
“Here in Cumbria lots of good work is underway to educate people and prevent hate crime in the first place. A Theatre Group commissioned by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has developed and produced a performance “Feel the Hate” which is currently touring secondary schools across the county raising awareness to years 8 to 11 about what is a hate crime, what they should do if they experience or witness a hate crime and about the impact and seriousness. I was able to watch a performance last week it is immensely powerful and hard hitting. I was pleased by the reaction of the young people watching.
“This proactive approach has been supported by a multi- agency educational support programme “Turning the Spotlight” for offenders of hate crime and which is aimed at addressing behaviour and reducing re-offending.
“A further initiative supported by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is “The Chef Show” an innovative performance aimed at reducing prejudices within respective cultures which will tour Cumbria in early 2017.
“I am a great believer in ‘we, not they’. It is only by us all working together that we will make a difference and stop hate crime.”
Police Constable Julie Dodd, Diversity Officer at Cumbria Constabulary, said: “Reporting a hate crime directly to the Police can feel like a daunting process for some.
“We recognise this as an issue which is why, in Cumbria, there are more than 50 Hate Incident Reporting Centres where people can report hate crime or hate incidents without having to contact the Police directly.
“These centres offer a safe neutral location within the community where specially trained staff can assist people with reporting.
“Anybody can use this facility regardless of whether they are a victim, witness, or just someone who is aware of information that needs to be reported.”