Working together to tackle hate crime
Merseyside Police is supporting a week of action to encourage people to provide intelligence on hate crime as part of National Hate Crime Awareness Week.
Information from the communities of Merseyside on where such offences are happening is a vital tool in the fight to rid our streets of hate crime.
We work proactively with local authorities and other partner agencies to develop a greater understanding of the communities being targeted by hate crime, and the public can play a crucial role in spotting hate crime and telling us about it.
Detective Duperintendent Dave McCaughrean said: “Hate crime can take many forms – from stickers on lampposts and graffiti on walls and benches, to verbal abuse shouted in the street, violence and offensive messages posted on social media.
“Hate crime can involve people being targeted based on their race, religion, sexuality, disability and gender identity - every person in Merseyside has the right to go about their lives without being the target of language or criminal behaviour motivated by hate or prejudice.
“We have had park wardens tell us about racist graffiti scrawled on benches, door staff inform us about comments made to them and train staff inform us about stickers on lampposts at train stations. While we have officers on patrol who have also witnessed hate crimes first hand and been able to take immediate action, you too can be our eyes and ears on the streets.
“If you are aware of a repeat offender on your street, of an individual or family who are being subjected to hate, or if you see anything online or while out and about, please tell us.
“As a police force it is vitally important for us to know where we have issues with hate crime and how many are being committed. Only then can we do something about it.
“We have dramatically improved our recording of hate crimes, our own understanding of what can constitute a hate crime, and the way we identify them – such as our Cyber Team investigating them online.
“The aim of all this work is to identify offenders, bring them to justice and ultimately ensure we protect all of our communities from being subjected to any hateful behaviour.Det Supt McCaughrean added: "Our officers regularly speak to victims of hate crime and know first-hand the impact this type of crime has. We have specially trained hate crime co-ordinators who can draw on a wealth of experience and expertise to provide effective and above all sensitive and appropriate support for victims, supporting them throughout the process from initially reporting a crime to seeing the perpetrator brought to justice.
“But we recognise that not everyone will feel comfortable reporting hate crimes have happened to them or others directly to police. We encourage those people to speak to report hate crimes to the independent charities such as Stop Hate UK who provide a 24hour helpline service for all victims of hate crime, or Crimestoppers anonymously and have encouraged partner agencies to include their details to encourage more people to come forward.
“Local charities like the Anthony Walker Foundation, Daisy Inclusive UK and Citizens Advice Liverpool also provide emotional support, practical assistance and information to anyone requesting help.”
There are a range of Covid-secure activities happening around Merseyside all week to help prevent hate crime and increase awareness of the support available to anyone affected.
A Merseyside Police Hate crime co-coordinator will visit Broadgreen International School to talk to students, and there will be a session with businesses in the L8 area, where materials promoting Stop Hate UK will be distributed. A number of webinars will be hosted by the police and a number of partner agencies, while there will be an information session for students at Liverpool John Moores University to increase their awareness of how to report a hate crime. Elsewhere, Stop Hate UK leaflets will be posted in areas identified as hotspots like Huyton’s Hillside Estate, the Fingerpost area of St Helens and the Poet Streets in Bootle.
The Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner’s team will be offering training to communities and businesses about how to prevent hate crime, as well as identifying more venues to become independent hate crime reporting centres, and added to the more than 90 such venues already in Merseyside where victims can get help to contact Stop Hate UK in a safe environment. They already include fire stations, citizen advice bureaus and hospitals and enable people who feel more comfortable discussing their issues with an independent party to come forward.
Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “I am pleased to once again support National Hate Crime Awareness Week. Crimes motivated by hate have no place in our society. This annual event is an important opportunity to stand together with our communities to reject hate and intolerance of any kind.
“Merseyside is home to people of all races and faiths, to people of all sexual orientations and genders and to people of all abilities. We are all made stronger by this rich and vibrant diversity.
“Nobody should be subject to abuse, fear or hatred simply because of who they are and even one victim of hate crime, is one victim too many. I am committed to raising awareness of this insidious and harmful crime, encouraging anyone affected to speak out and ensuring all our residents can live free from fear. I hope this week of activity will give more victims the confidence to speak out and get the support they need.”
Anyone with information about hate crime can contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’. You can also call 101.
If you wish to remain anonymous, you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or contact them via their website here: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-anonymously. You can also speak to the charity Stop Hate UK and they will act as a liaison if required. They can be contacted by calling 0800 138 1625 or clicking here: https://www.stophateuk.org/how-to-report-online-hate/