Hate crime up during lockdown

By Barrie Hudson - 10 August 2020

CommunityCrime

Hate crime in Swindon and across Wiltshire increased during lockdown according to new figures.

  • Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson says hate crime is never to be tolerated - and urges victims to come forward

    Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson says hate crime is never to be tolerated - and urges victims to come forward

Between 24 March and the end of July, Wiltshire Police saw 290 hate crimes reported, compared to 256 for the same period last year - a rise of 13 percent. 

However, there was a drop in the year-on-year total, with 637 hate crimes reported between April of 2019 and March of this year, compared to 678 for 2018/19.

The police's Summer Demand campaign aims to educate the public about being mindful of discrimination as well as encouraging people who need to report it. 

Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said: “Hate crime is never to be tolerated and I hope this latest campaign will help inform people about their use of language and general behaviour in relation to discrimination. 

“No-one should feel threatened or unsafe because of who they are, the life they live and beliefs they hold; we are all human irrespective of race, sexuality, gender, disability or religion.  

"Everyone deserves to be able to live peacefully in our world with all its wonderful diversity.  

"We all need to work together to stop hate crime - please report it if you are a victim or you know someone who has been targeted.  The police will take you seriously. 

"I am proud to say that Wiltshire Police so far has 89 trained Hate Crime Advisors; these are officers who have the necessary skills and knowledge to help victims as well as pointing them in the right direction for extra help if needed - like the Victim Support charity. 

"Of course, you will also receive good support from Horizon - the victim and witness care service."

Five 'hate crime strands' are currently monitored by the force for offences - race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. 

For race hate crime 442 incidents were reported in 2017/18 and 493 and 481 in subsequent years. For religious hate crime 37 incidents were reported in 2017/19 and 26 and 36 in subsequent years. 

For disability hate crime the corresponding figures are 38, 61 and 75 while for transgender identity hate crime they are 10, 27 and 35.

For hate crime related to sexual orientation, 55 incidents were reported in 2017/18 and 93 and 95 in subsequent years.

Inspector Simon Cowdrey, Force lead for Hate Crime, said:  “Hate Crime comes in many forms - from the extreme to what may appear to be an innocent but inappropriate discriminatory comment. 

"This year's Summer Demand campaign aims at highlighting how sometimes a simple comment or even joke may be offensive in the context of a hate crime and how to avoid that situation. 

"There is never any excuse for it; as a force we take all reports seriously and will respond robustly to anyone committing these crimes.

"We want everyone to have the confidence to report these types of crimes to us and to keep reporting them and I am certain this campaign will help with that; it's all about education and keeping the discussions in the public domain." 

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner's Victims and Vulnerability Commissioning Manager, Maria Milton, said:  "Hate crimes can cause lasting physical and emotional damage - victims are often left with feelings of despair and anxiety.  

"I encourage victims to report these crimes and access the information, support and assistance available."

Hate crime can be reported on 999 for emergencies, 101 for non-emergencies and online at www.wiltshire.police.uk

They can also be reported online at www.report-it.org.uk and to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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