North Yorkshire Police, along with the Police and Crime Commissioner, are backing a new nationwide hate crime campaign launched by the government and aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of what constitutes a hate crime.
The campaign has been developed in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime and other organisations, to help the public understand hate crime, particularly offences which often people do not recognise as criminal, such as some forms of online and verbal abuse.
This includes educating perpetrators who have been motivated by hostility towards the victim’s race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability that they have committed a hate crime.
The strapline of the campaign sends a clear message about what hate crime is:
‘If you target anyone with verbal, online or physical abuse because of their religion, race, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity – you may be committing a hate crime. It’s not just offensive. It’s an offence.’
Superintendent Mark Khan, lead in force for hate crime, said: “Our message is clear – to target hate at a person because of their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender is a crime.
“It can devastate lives and make people change their behaviour just because of what they are.”
The campaign launched last week with adverts running on video-on-demand sites, social media and posters to be displayed across the country.
Each video or poster features a different offender, represented by an e-fit, and a hate crime taking place.
These include a lesbian couple being verbally abused at a bar, racist graffiti being sprayed on the shop of a foreign couple and an offender posting hate-filled messages about a transgender woman online.
The campaign website also signposts organisations where victims and witnesses can get the support they need.
Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s elected Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I have said this many times before, but Hate Crime remains chronically under reported in my opinion. We need to do everything we can to give victims confidence to come forward, and then make sure we support them properly when they do.”
The launch comes after statistics showed 94,098 hate crimes were recorded by police in England and Wales in the year to March 2018.
Alternatively, if victims or witnesses do not wish to speak to the police the following organisations can be contacted for further advice and support:
True Vision | report-it.org
Supporting Victims in North Yorkshire | 01609 643 100 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out about the Home Office’s new campaign here: hatecrime.campaign.gov.uk
Click here for more information.