A NEW initiative has been launched by police in Redditch and Bromsgrove to tackle hate crime.
Hate crime covers everything from disability, alternative lifestyle or culture, race, religion, sexual orientation and transgender and can extend to every other sort of crime if there is an element of hate involved – like a robbery which might have resulted in a racial slur.
The problem for police is the reporting of a hate crime could be considerably less than the reality of it.
Insp Darren Webster (pictured), who is one of Bromsgrove’s top officers driving the initiative in north Worcestershire, said: “We are aware the reporting of hate crime is possibly less than the situation out there.
“We want to raise awareness of what a hate crime is and how it can be reported, with confidence, to the police.”
In total 165 cases were reported in 2014/15 of which 127 were of a racial nature – an increase of 21 from the year before.
In all, 18 were to do with sexual orientation – four with transgender, six with religion and faith, four with lifestyle and culture and six with disability.
Insp Webster, who sits on the LGBT Forum for Worcestershire and the Hate Incident Partnership for the north of the county, accepts by encouraging more people to report hate crime those statistics are likely to get worse but it was important to tackle the issue.
“People who are victims of hate crime may not consider that the police see it as a crime, but we want people to tell us, we want to know the size of the problem,” he said.
“It’s all about perceptions and attitudes, it’s about education and the acceptance of people as they are. We want people to have the confidence to come forward and tell us and not suffer in silence.”
He added, given the evidence, the perpetrators of hate crime would be prosecuted.