Association of Police and Crime Commissioners
National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2019
Blog from APCC Hate Crime Lead, Hardyal Dhindsa, Derbyshire PCC
This is the 8th National Hate Crime Awareness Week and, as the APCC Lead on Hate Crime, I do not think it could’ve come at a better time. Last year, Home Office statistics revealed that specific spikes in hate crime had taken place following events such as the EU referendum and the 2017 terrorist attacks; meanwhile, experimental data showed that Muslims were disproportionately targeted as victims of hate crime motivated by religion .
Further figures will be released next week. Thanks to research published by United Response, we know that, shockingly, the total number of disability hate crimes reported to the Police has risen by 54% since 2016-17 . Meanwhile, I am concerned by reports that indicate homophobic hate crime is rising, yet fewer and fewer perpetrators are being prosecuted .
What we must remember is that behind these statistics lies a considerable amount of human suffering. Research has shown that hate crime has a more of a negative impact on the victim compared to other crime types: victims are more likely to experience anxiety; whilst being targeted for the way they are can leave people feeling vulnerable and unsafe in their own communities.
For me, targeting somebody based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, transgender status or any other such characteristic, is anathema to the values that our way of life is built on here in the UK. As the first BAME person to be elected as a Police and Crime Commissioner, I am proud to live in a country where so many people have devoted their lives to campaigning for equality: from the Suffragettes, who fought for women’s right to vote at the beginning of the last century, to the campaigners who drove forward the huge strides in LGBT progress seen over the last few decades. In terms of tackling discrimination and working toward equality, we still have much further to go, but I do believe that standing up for what is right and treating people fairly are integral parts of what it means to be British.
That is why, this Hate Crime Awareness Week, I want to take a stand against hate crime: not only do I believe it affects the individuals and communities targeted, but I also believe it threatens our way of life. The history of the 20th century has shown how easily hate and prejudice can lead to persecution and so much worse. Therefore, it is vital we all do what we can to combat this type of crime.
As the APCC Lead on hate crime, I will continue to provide a challenge to forces to do all they can to respond to hate crime and I will encourage fellow PCCs to ensure that the victims services we commission are able to respond to the needs of hate crime victims. Nationally, I will continue to work alongside government and other agencies, to ensure that we take a coordinated approach to this type of crime.
If you have been the victim of a hate crime or incident, I would encourage you to come forward. Even if you don’t wish to report to the Police, you can report directly to victims’ services which PCCs commission, so that you can access any support that you may need. Meanwhile, the NGO Communities Inc. has done great work, through their Stand By Me initiative, on the sensible steps we can take if we are witness to a hate crime.
I would like to conclude with the words of Martin Luther King: “Hate cannot drive out hate. It is through coming together and standing in solidarity with all our communities, that we can work towards a world where we are all free to be who we are, without the threat of hate”.
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