West Yorkshire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire are supporting the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 21 March as part of their hate crime awareness campaign, and during March will be highlighting race hate crime and how people can report it.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Paul Money said: “The theme for this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is ‘learning from historical tragedies to combat racial discrimination today’. We appreciate that some individuals may be distrustful of police because of their own or others’ past experiences and work hard to understand and build relationships with our diverse communities across West Yorkshire.
“Racist or xenophobic behaviour has no place in our communities and we all have a part to play in challenging it. It is vital that people have the confidence to come forward and tell us if they have either been a victim of, or witnessed, such behaviour. We take every report extremely seriously and will investigate thoroughly, putting support in place for the victim and ensuring that appropriate action is taken.”
This month marks the last focused month of activity under the hate crime campaign banner with previous months focusing on gender identity, disability, faith and sexual orientation hate crime. The Force and Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson will however be continuing to engage with communities and minority groups to raise awareness and encourage reporting of hate crimes and incidents.
“West Yorkshire Police will not tolerate the targeting of someone because of their race, sexual orientation, religion, disability or gender identity. Even if what’s happened isn’t a criminal offence the police still need to know so they can ensure support and advice is offered to those involved and action is taken where appropriate. We will continue, alongside the Police and Crime Commissioner, to promote what constitutes a hate crime or incident and the options available to report this either directly or indirectly to the police,” T/ACC Money added.
The Force and Police and Crime Commissioner are also supporting the national ‘We Stand Together’ campaign which was launched to respond to concerns within communities across the UK as a result of recent global events.
As part of the West Yorkshire campaign, improvements have been made to the recording of faith hate crimes and incidents with sub-categories introduced to better understand the impact of national and international events on local communities.
Launched in Manchester on 5 March, the ‘We Stand Together’ campaign is a national movement to celebrate diversity and difference, encourage community cohesion and build upon positive work already taking place. People can get involved with the campaign by uploading a photograph of themself standing with at least one other person and tweet a message with #WeStandTogether and their stated cause. People can then nominate one or several other people to do the same.
Mr Burns-Williamson, said: “Hate crime is a crime committed against people when they are targeted because of their race, sexual orientation, religion, disability or gender identity.
“We are supporting the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to ensure people affected by this type of crime know they are not alone and that they can and should report it and they will be listened to.
“Along with West Yorkshire Police, as your Police and Crime Commissioner I am are committed to tackling all forms of hate crime, putting victims and witnesses at the heart of what we do, and ensuring that the right support services are available when needed.
“That is why, in conjunction with West Yorkshire Police, I am also pleased to be supporting the national ‘We Stand Together’ campaign which ensures we all unite to celebrate our differences, and stand together against hatred and intolerance as we all have a responsibility to challenge the attitudes and behaviours that foster hatred, whether individually or collectively.”
Anyone with information about a hate crime or incident is asked to report it either by calling 999 in an emergency or 101 in a non-emergency, online at www.westyorkshire.police.uk/hatecrime or in person at a police station.
Alternatively, there are independent Hate Incident Reporting Centres (HIRCs) across West Yorkshire for anyone who does not want to speak directly to the police. To find your nearest centre visit the West Yorkshire Police website. There is also an independent online hate crime reporting facility on the True Vision website at www.report-it.org.uk.