Don’t write off taunts as ‘banter’
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