Hartlepool takes action over drunken hate crimes

Church Street, Hartlepool
Church Street, Hartlepool

Takeaway and bar staff are to be given help to tackle the hate crimes committed by drunks, while those who prey on the most vulnerable will also be targeted.

The proposals have been put together following a study across Hartlepool, with more also to be done to bring down barriers which stop the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community reporting crimes.

We need to ensure we encourage people and we are proactive with this.

Councillor Jim Ainslie

A meeting of the Safer Hartlepool Partnership heard how research had looked at the issues of crimes against the disabled or because of people’s religion, gender, sexuality or race.

Members, who include the police, council, housing officials and councillors, were also told how incidents of ‘mate crime’, which involves people making friends with the vulnerable to exploit them, are also being put in the spotlight.

Lawrence Martin, a town eccentric character who died in June last year, was highlighted as such a case.

Councillor Jim Ainslie, who headed up the report’s efforts, said his eyes had been opened to the issues after visiting community centres and meeting victims.

He said: “We need to ensure we encourage people and we are proactive with this.”

He added he was “ashamed” he had not stepped in when he saw Lawrence being used by others.

A series of recommendations were accepted by the partnership including working with the vulnerable, better training for police, support for vulnerable families and help for night time businesses to change the perception abuse is just a part of their job.