As national Hate Crime Awareness Week starts, we want to emphasise that hate crime has no place in Staffordshire and to seek volunteers for our community hate crime champions scheme.
There has never been a more crucial time for us to all work together to tackle hate crime. Everyone has the right to feel safe and we have the responsibility to stand against hatred and discrimination by raising awareness, encourage reporting and to improve our response to hate crime and prevent further incidents from taking place.
In 2022/2023, we recorded 2,010 hate crimes with the highest numbers being race, then sexual orientation. A hate crime is an act of hostility or prejudice towards an individual based on their disability, race, religion or beliefs, sexual orientation or transgender identity. Hate crime isn’t always physical abuse, it can be verbal, threatening behaviour, bullying, online abuse and damage to property.
To improve our response to hate crime, we have launched our community hate crime champions scheme across the county. It will see members of the community help to improve the reporting of hate crimes to the police and ensure victims are signposted to the most appropriate support.
Anyone can become a community hate crime champion, for example an Imam at a local mosque, a Rabbi at a synagogue, a co-ordinator of a disability support group, someone from within the LGBTQ+ community, a parent or guardian, supermarket employee or a football steward.
They will receive training from our commissioned service, Uniting Staffordshire Against Hate and how to identify what is a hate crime and how to help victims.
Assistant Chief Constable Rebecca Riggs said: “All forms of hate crime are unacceptable in any circumstances and we will respond strongly to any incidents. We should treat people with fairness, kindness and treat people with dignity and respect that every human being rightly deserves. Hatred not only has the potential to cause serious physical and emotional harm, it can damage communities and cause division.
“Many people, can be victims of hate crimes but sadly don’t report it. I want to encourage anyone who has been a hate crime victim to come forward as it is only through us holding those offenders to account that we can collectively change behaviours and attitudes over time.
Anyone who is a victim of a hate crime should report it to us as soon as possible through the LiveChat service on our website Report hate crime | Staffordshire Police or by dialling 999 in an emergency. Your report will be treated with total confidentiality and an officer will investigate your case.
There are several national organisations that offer support to victims of hate crime. They provide services such as helplines, guidance, confidential safety advice and training. Some may be able to report a hate crime on your behalf. More information can be found on the government website: https://hatecrime.campaign.gov.uk/