Hertfordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd, says these crimes must not be allowed to "fester" and, in association with the Police and County Council, is promoting National Hate Crime Awareness Week.
A hate crime is any crime that is targeted at a person due to their disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity.
David Lloyd, said: “Hertfordshire is a safe and tolerant place to live, work and visit, however the figures show that a small number of totally unacceptable incidents do occur. Many of these incidents are hate crimes and would offend the vast majority of residents. We must challenge this behaviour so it is not allowed to cause further damage to our community.
“I commissioned research into the experiences of hate crime victims in order to improve support services for them and the recommendations will now shape the next hate crime strategy for the county. However in order to understand the complete picture, it is vital that victims come forward and report what is happening to them.”
The research commissioned by the Victim Services Commissioning Team at the OPCC from the Centre for Hate Studies at the University of Leicester has 8 recommendations that have informed commissioning intentions in a report called 'Healing the Harms: Identifying How Best to Support Hate Crime Victims.' They will be included within the new hate crime strategy, which will be published next year, to enhance services for victims of hate crime so that they can access support to cope and recover from their experiences and deliver the set objectives.
The joint County Community Safety Unit (CCSU) will be promoting the “Report it, don’t ignore it” message throughout the week to raise awareness of what hate crime is, how victims can report it and get support.
This year, the number of hate crime reports has risen with a peak of 184 race or ethnicity-related hate crimes recorded in July in Hertfordshire – 75 more reports than the same month last year. Despite the increases, it is believed that many hate crime and hate incidents still go unreported.
Many victims and witnesses either try to ignore it or fear the repercussions of reporting it. Others simply do not know what a hate crime is or that it can be reported, or they believe their report won’t be taken seriously.
Victims are encouraged to report incidents directly to police by dialling 101 or in an emergency 999. However victims who would prefer not to speak to police can report incidents via third party reporting centres who can take details of the incident before passing it onto police. These can also be reported online at the national anti-hate crime website True Vision (www.report-it.org.uk).
Photo left to right: Hate Crime Officer Donna Horwood, Deputy Chief Constable Michelle Dunn, Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd, Chief Superintendent Matt Nicholls, Force Lead for Sexual Orientation, Superintendent Dean Patient, Force Strategic Lead for Hate Crime, and Hate Crime Officer Sam Bailey.