Victims and witnesses of hate crime are being urged to come forward as police in Hartlepool throw their weight behind an awareness campaign.
Hate Crime Awareness Week begins on Monday, with Cleveland Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Cleveland having thrown their support behind it.
We are committed to treating every report of a hate incident seriouslyPCC Barry Coppinger
They are encouraging people to use the online reporting tool TrueVision at www.report-it.org.uk.
PCC Barry Coppinger said: “We are committed to treating every report of a hate incident seriously.
“These unacceptable crimes cause great harm to individuals and to society as a whole, and I welcome the chance to once again express my support for this campaign. We will once again show support for Show Racism the Red Card this week in conjunction with Middlesbrough Football Club by supporting Wear Red Day on Friday, which is an opportunity for staff to show their commitment to tackling racism and prejudice by wearing red.
“Show Racism the Red Card will also be offering training to our officers under this banner next month to heighten awareness of Hate Crime issues.”
‘Hate crime’ refers to any crime which is perceived to be motivated by a person’s hostility or prejudice against certain characteristics, including race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) organisation Hart Gables is among many organisations across Cleveland who act as a third party reporting centre for those who may be unable or unwilling to report offences directly to the police.
Sarah Lewis, strategic development manager at Hart Gables, said: “We are currently working alongside the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Crown Prosecution Service to develop a set of hate crime booklets for victims which tell the story of a victim’s journey and explores their options, so that they have a clear understanding of police procedures, what happens with the Crown Prosecution Service and what to expect at court. Hate crime is so widespread it touches the lives of people locally and globally.
“We would encourage anyone suffering from any form of hate to please come forward and report their incident to Cleveland Police or third party reporting centres.”
Chief superintendent Alastair Simpson, of Cleveland Police, said: “Raising awareness of hate crime and working with partners to tackle it remains an absolute priority for the force.
“I would urge anyone who believes they have been subject to a hate crime to come forward and I can guarantee they will be fully supported throughout any investigation.”