Northumbria Police has held a series of events this week to coincide with National Hate Crime Awareness Week. It aims to elevate the knowledge and understanding of what constitutes a hate crime among the general public, and advertise the support available to those who are victims of such abuse. In particular, the Northumbria Police force has stressed the importance of education in communities on themes including self-identification, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
The week also hopes to shed light on the measures its officers are taking to tackle the hate crimes in the region. Events hosted by the service will run from Saturday October 8th until Saturday October 15th. The police force has been running drop-in sessions, talking in schools and holding a Q+A on social media. They will also be attending community meetings as well as taking part in activities and initiatives across the region.
Northumbria Police Detective Chief Inspector Deborah Alderson stated, “Targeting anyone because of who they are is not acceptable.
“If you have been hurt, threatened, abused, harassed or intimidated or suffered any other crime because of your race, faith, disability, sexual orientation, age or gender identity, this is hate crime.
“If you are the carer of a disabled person or one of your family members is disabled and you are hurt, threatened, abused, harassed or intimidated or suffer any other crime because of a prejudice or hostility based on this individual’s disability this is also a hate crime.”
This year’s National Hate Crime Awareness Week arrives as Northumbria Police reported a 39% increase in recorded hate related crimes between 2014/15 and 2015/16, in addition to a 31% increase in recorded racist hate related crimes in the same period.
The police force is notably running several events for the residents of the city who are seeking asylum, focusing on ways to help them integrate into their new environment. This is a particularly significant feature of the events planned to raise awareness of hate crime, as over 400 supporters of Pegida UK were seen to take to the streets of Newcastle in February of this year, marching against what the group determined to be “the Islamisation of Europe”. This was also followed by the far-right, English Defence League protest of immigration in the city centre in June.
Vera Baird QC, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner emphasised the positive and considerable impact that these events could have, “I give my 100 per cent full support to Hate Crime Awareness Week. There’s no place in our society for intolerance and prejudice and let’s be clear - it will certainly not be tolerated by Northumbria Police.
“It really is important that all victims have the confidence to report hate crimes, if not to the police, to one of our partners.”
DCI Alderson added “hate crime is an issue that we take incredibly seriously as a force and we can not underestimate the impact it has on victims” and that civilians should “report hate crime to the police, or if you prefer confidentially via a third party reporting scheme such as a Safe Reporting Centre, True Vision or Arch.”
Hate crime can be reported to police by contacting 999 in an emergency and 101 in a non emergency.