West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner is asking anyone concerned or affected by hate crime or hate incidents to report them to the police.
Mark Burns-Williamson, speaking after concerns were raised locally and nationally around hate crime incidents, said that hatred, violence and intolerance in any form would not be tolerated.
He said: “We need to recognise that the recent local, national and international events impact our communities, but I want to offer reassurance that myself and the Temporary Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, Dee Collins, are committed to working together to tackle these issues head on.
“To that end we have an ongoing awareness raising campaign “Hate Hurts. Report it, Sort it, Say No to Hate Crime and at the very heart of that campaign is the message that: Everyone has a right to feel safe and no one should ever be a victim of hate crime because of their disability, gender, identity, race, religion, sexual orientation or because of how they choose to dress.
“I recognise that people are concerned but want to reassure communities that we remain vigilant and have been raising awareness and offering support and reassurance around tackling hate crime for a number of years, including the ongoing ‘Hate Hurts’ campaign.
“I encourage anyone affected to come forward and report it and know that if they do, we will take every report seriously and investigate thoroughly, putting appropriate support in place for any victims.
“I have been supporting many local projects to deliver support to victims of hate crime and better understand the impact of hate crime on individuals and communities through projects funded by my ongoing Safer Communities Fund and my recent extraordinary Hate Crime grant round which was funded by Ministry of Justice Victims Support Services Fund.
“The details of these projects and organisations can be accessed via a link to my website https://www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/partnership/extraordinary-hate-crime-grant.aspx and https://www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/safer-communities-fund/successful-applications.aspx some of who also offer third party reporting referrals to victims of hate incidents.
“I want to stress that there is no place in West Yorkshire for those who foster any kind of hatred and intolerance, a view which I know is held by the vast majority of our diverse communities.”
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Angela Williams said: “While we have not seen a rise in hate incidents reported to West Yorkshire Police since last week’s referendum result, we understand the heightened concern in some communities and are aware of the increase in reports nationally to various agencies.
“West Yorkshire is home to richly diverse communities and I want to be clear that there is no excuse for hatred and intolerance on the grounds of race, faith, disability, sexual orientation or gender.
“Our communities must be reassured that we and our partner agencies will provide the support and help they need. Wherever there is evidence of a crime we will seek to prosecute and even if what has happened is not a crime, people need to come forward in order they can receive the appropriate support. Behaviour of this nature has no place in our society.”
On average, West Yorkshire Police recorded just over 12 hate incidents per day, between January and May 2016, relating to race, faith, disability, sexual orientation or gender.
Incidents can be reported via the West Yorkshire Police website, which also contains links to partner organisations.