Commissioner issues call to action for Hate Crime in Herts
Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd has welcomed key recommendations for supporting victims of hate crime in light of findings from a pioneering new piece of research in Hertfordshire.  

The Commissioner funded report:  ‘Healing the Harms: Identifying how best to support Hate Crime Victims’ led by the University of Leicester’s Centre for Hate Studies, asked people to share their experiences and thoughts on support services locally and nationally. The findings and recommendations will now be used to improve support services for hate crime victims in Hertfordshire via Victim Care Centre Beacon and to develop the next hate crime strategy for the county.
Between January and April this year more than 1600 people shared their personal insights on hate crime through a survey and in-depth interviews. Over one third (36 per cent) of the sample had experienced a hate crime, with many participants citing race as the cause. Interestingly, this finding mirrors recorded figures from Hertfordshire Constabulary.
In drawing these findings, the report outlines the perceived effectiveness of hate crime policy, the range of hate crimes experienced by people who live in Hertfordshire, and the damaging effects of hate crime on a victim’s emotional and physical wellbeing. It also examines reporting rates to police, interaction rates with existing support services and the needs and expectations of actual and potential hate crime victims.

Currently criminal justice agencies in England and Wales are required to monitor five strands of hate crime – namely hostility or prejudice directed towards a person’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation and transgender status. Recommendations in the report suggest further diversity and hate-related training to police and front-line practitioners and creating awareness campaigns for support services such as Beacon so those affected know more readily where they can turn.
Although the great work of specially trained hate crime police officers already in operation in the county is commended, the report suggests that more needs to be done with local services including the voluntary and community sector so victims can access the emotional and practical support they need, with plans for a specially trained counsellor service. Further work is also advised on the investigative process and case updates in relation to hate crime offences so that more victims understand what action is being taken by the police and have confidence that their case is being taken seriously.

Commissioner Lloyd supports the report’s recommendations fully in steering plans for the next hate crime strategy in Hertfordshire. He said: “Hate crime is intolerable and I am dedicated to reducing the number of victims that experience it.  In partnership with Hertfordshire Constabulary and the County Community Safety Unit, we are now well on the way to commissioning, specialist services for victims of hate crime to help them cope and recover from their experiences.
“This insightful research gives a frank and honest view of hate crime, drawing directly on experience of Hertfordshire residents and I would like to thank everyone who took the time to contribute. Your contributions will remain as the cornerstone of a hate crime strategy that will give victims and witnesses confidence in the criminal justice system to protect and support their needs. “
Dr Stevie-Jade Hardy, Lead Researcher on the project, said “This research highlighted the broad range of hate crimes taking place in Hertfordshire and the devastating impact that it is having upon victims and their families. Currently too many victims are suffering in silence. We are delighted to see that the Police and Crime Commissioner is committed to addressing these issues and we will continue to work with organisations in Hertfordshire to implement the recommendations.”
The report can be viewed in full by clicking here.