Racist note left on car in park­ing row

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By ASHA ME­HTA

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.

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