Transfer window open for PC taking on first ever football hate crime role
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Staffordshire Police has appointed its first ever football hate crime officer to help fans, players and clubs across the county ensure they have the best possible experience at games.
PC Rich Lymer, who previously worked across East Staffordshire and as part of the force’s Road Policing Unit, took up his new role on Tuesday (26 July) - the same day that England’s Lionesses pounced into the final of the Women’s Euros 2022.
The new role will see PC Lymer not only become the force's Football Hate Crime Officer but also the dedicated football officer for Burton Albion FC.
The football hate crime officer post has been created as a result of the force’s continued work with football clubs across the county, including Stoke City, Port Vale, Burton Albion, Hednesford Town, Stafford Rangers, Tamworth FC and 23 other smaller non-league clubs around Staffordshire.
It comes as Staffordshire Police continues to carry out complex partnership working with local authorities, the Sports Ground Safety Authority and other emergency services, to ensure that the requirements of each match’s safety certificate are met while using best practices to improve match day experiences for fans, staff and the wider community.
PC Lymer said: “I am over the moon to be the first officer appointed to this new role.
“Of course, any instance of hate crime in the community is taken very seriously and while it’s a sad indictment of the times that we need a dedicated officer to take up this post, it shows how committed we are in Staffordshire to addressing this important issue.”
Earlier this year, the Home Office announced that football banning orders would be extended to include online hate offences, meaning online trolls could be banned from attending games for up to 10 years in England and Wales.
Part of PC Lymer’s role will see him work both at football grounds and online to monitor those committing hate-related offences surrounding games.
He said: “We are lucky here in Staffordshire to have such a thriving football community which runs from grassroots right the way through to the national team, with England being at St. Georges Park.
"This gives me fantastic opportunity to engage with a huge array of players and clubs alike while working with the fans of all these fantastic teams.
"The key focus of my role will be around engagement and education to try and change the views of a small minority who tarnish the beautiful game by acts of hate crime.
"I also will seek to work with our clubs, the CPS and the courts to ensure that those convicted of such offences receive sufficient penalties."
A hate incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone’s prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.
Not all hate incidents will amount to criminal offences, but it is equally important that these are reported and recorded by the police.