Warwickshire Police reaches out to victims of hate crime
Warwickshire Police is reaching out to victims of hate crime to encourage them to report what has happened to them and stop it happening to other people.
A new initiative - REACH (Response and Engagement Against Crimes of Hate)- has been developed which involves local officers engaging with community groups to help them understand hate crime and what they can do to address the issue.
Hate crime means any crime or incident where the perpetrator's hostility or prejudice against an identifiable group of people is the reason for committing the crime. Anyone can be a victim of hate crime - if they are picked upon because of who they are or a group they appear to belong to. The Home Office specifically collects and monitors hate crime against a person's race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or their gender-reassignment.
There were 10,665 hate crimes recorded nationally during the third quarter of 2010/11, 63 of them in Warwickshire.
The aim of REACH is to encourage more reporting of hate crime so that it can be dealt with effectively. This includes people who have witnessed or know about hate crime that is happening to someone else.
REACH has been developed following the publication of a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (Hidden in Plain Sight) and in response to local, high profile incidents.
Already officers from the Safer Neighbourhoods Teams have engaged with the process, following local briefings, and are keen to identify potential victims and witnesses in their areas and
Posters and business cards have been produced with details of how to report a hate crime, either for yourself or on behalf of others, and these will be displayed throughout the county. But the emphasis of the initiative is on police engagement with people to discuss hate crime and how it can be reported.
REACH can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.
Chief Inspector Mike Slemensek said: "Protecting all people from hate crime is an essential part of our mission to protect communities from harm'.
"We are aware that there are many people in the community who experiencing hate crime in their lives and that this is not being passed on to the police and other agencies that can help. We want people to know that they can get help and that we want to reach them in order to provide help and protection'.
"The earlier we know about things, the sooner we can act. This is particularly important to prevent the cumulative effect upon the victim of repeat victimisation which - as we know - can all too often lead to the most tragic of circumstances".
"Our local officers will be working with community groups to identify those who are the most at risk because of prejudice or hostility, and I would encourage victims, or anyone who knows a victim, to come forward.
"In an emergency, for example when the crime is happening, you can call 999 or 112 or for non emergency reporting call 01926 415000 or 101. There is also a dedicated Hate Crime helpline number, 0845 129 2221.
"Don't suffer in silence - there are people who can help."
police contact point
• Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111