Don’t write off taunts as ‘ban­ter’

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Citybeat - DI Andy Tol­ley

As the De­tec­tive In­spec­tor and lead in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer for hate crime in Peter­bor­ough, I know the term can mean a num­ber of things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple.

Here’s an over­view of what de­fines a hate crime and how you can re­port it.

The law de­fines hate crime as…

Any crim­i­nal of­fence which is per­ceived by the vic­tim or any other per­son to be mo­ti­vated by a hos­til­ity or prej­u­dice based on a per­son’s : race or per­ceived race re­li­gion or per­ceived re­li­gion

sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion or per­ceived sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion

dis­abil­ity or per­ceived dis­abil­ity

trans­gen­der or per- ceived to be trans­gen­der

What might this look like? It may be in the form of ver­bal abuse, taunts, as­saults and dam­age to peo­ple’s prop­erty. Abuse can be ob­vi­ous and not so ob­vi­ous. Block­ing the path of a guide dog, not al­low­ing a dis­abled per­son to sit in an al­lo­cated spot on a bus, not in­clud­ing a gay or trans­gen­der per­son in your sports team, and so on…

Vic­tims may not be aware that they are be­ing tar­geted. Any per­son can per­ceive that some­one has been tar­geted.

If some­one per­ceives they have been tar­geted then the po­lice will record it as such. Iden­ti­fy­ing and gath­er­ing ev­i­dence of hos­til­ity and prej­u­dice is key to prov­ing the of­fence and gain­ing en­hanced sen­tenc­ing at court.

Crimes can also in­clude what is known as “mate crime” – where dis­abled and vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple are harmed in abu­sive re­la­tion­ships by of­fend­ers who set out to, or take the op­por­tu­nity of­fered by the re­la­tion­ship to abuse the vic­tim. These crimes in­clude fi­nan­cial or vi­o­lent crimes with es­ca­la­tion.

Since the ref­er­en­dum there is a feel­ing of con­fu­sion and un­cer­tainty amongst many com­mu­ni­ties with some peo­ple hav­ing taken the op­por­tu­nity to vent frus­tra­tions about peo­ple and to peo­ple they per­ceive to be im­mi­grants.

Tell us who is say­ing or do­ing what in your com­mu­ni­ties. Mi­nor hate in­ci­dents can es­ca­late into com­mu­nity ten­sions. If you hear or see any­thing in­ap­pro­pri­ate, don’t write off taunts as “ban- ter”, re­port it.

The vast ma­jor­ity of hate crimes and in­ci­dents go un­re­ported be­cause of many rea­sons – but mostly be­cause the vic­tim does not feel they will be taken se­ri­ously or noth­ing will be done.

The po­lice, courts and our part­ners take hate crime very se­ri­ously and will in­ves­ti­gate thor­oughly any in­ci­dent or crime re­ported. Re­cent lo­cal con­vic­tions at court have shown that we will not tol­er­ate this type of be­hav­iour and crim­i­nal­ity. We will work with vic­tims and com­mu­ni­ties to pro­vide sup­port and de­liver jus­tice when­ever we can.

Any­one who feels they have been a vic­tim of or have wit­nessed any hate crime can re­port it by con­tact­ing the po­lice on 101 or in an emer­gency 999 or vis­it­ing www. re­port-it.org.uk ASK IN STORE FOR DE­TAILS

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