Racist note left on car in parking row
POLICE have condemned culprits who left a racially abusive note on a woman’s windscreen after a minor parking dispute.
Officers have launched an investigation after the victim – an Afro-Caribbean pharmacist – found the scrap of paper with an offensive message scrawled on it after returning from a service at St John the Baptist Church, in Werrington, Peterborough.
Karen, who did not wish to reveal her surname, said the incident had left her frightened.
She had just pulled into the car park of the church, in Church Street, Werrington, at 11.49am on June 20, when she saw a dark blue Jaguar car reversing out.
Karen (40), of Livermore Green, Werrington, spotted an empty space and was parking in it when the Jaguar returned.
The male driver said he and his wife had been waiting a long time for a space. But she told him she had not known that and needed to get to the church service on time.
She left the car, but when she got back an hour and a half later, she noticed the note on her windscreen, which included phrases comparing her to a baboon.
She said: “When I read it, I was shocked and upset. It was racially abusing me and very offensive and just over a parking space. It’s hard to believe this could happen in this day and age. We are supposed to live in a multi-cultural society,
“I’ve only been in Peterborough for a few months and have already been racially abused once before. This has made me think is this what Peterborough is like?”
She said the incident had even put her off attending services, adding: “I wouldn’t want to go back to the church.”
Inspector Mat Newman from the police’s Community Cohesion Unit, condemned the incident as “totally unacceptable” and said they were doing everything they could to track down those responsible. Officers have carried out house-to-house enquiries in the area and have also visited the church.
Insp Newman said hate crime is taken extremely seriously by police. He said: “I’m really grateful it was reported to us. Out of what was a small, insignificant discussion, the offender came out with wholly inappropriate things that described their own prejudice.
“We all have different standards of things we find offensive that others may not. But racial abuse is just not acceptable.”
Hate crime includes incidents motivated by race, gender, disability or sexuality.
But Insp Newman said getting people to report hate crime was more important than the figures.
The police have just launched an online form at www.cambs.police.uk to give victims and witnesses of hate crime another way to report incidents.
He said: “Victims of hate crime can often feel isolated and may not want to talk to the police in the first instance, but still want to report the incident. The online reporting system has been introduced to make this process easier.”
Contact police on 0345 4564564 with information about the June 20 incident.