North Yorkshire Police is encouraging victims and communities to report hate crime as part of National Hate Crime Awareness Week.
Starting today and running until Saturday, 20 October the campaign seeks to reinforce the message that there is #NoPlaceForHate in North Yorkshire and emphasises the importance of reporting hate crime.
Between April and September 2018, 292 hate crimes were reported in North Yorkshire at an average of 48.6 per month. In the same period last year, the crimes reported were 171.
North Yorkshire Police wants to encourage anyone who is a victim of hate crime to report it.
However, the force is also stressing that communities can also play a part in stopping hate crime, by reporting any incidents witnessed.
Speaking about the campaign Superintendent Mark Khan, lead in force for hate crime said: “Our message is clear – to target hate at a person because of their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender is a crime.
“It is not political correctness gone mad – it is a real crime that can have a devastating impact upon individuals and communities.
“Hate Crime is about prejudice – prejudice against a person which can cause significant distress and harm. Often, victims are too scared to 'stand up for themselves'.
“Whether you are a victim of hate crime, or have witnessed a hate crime incident in North Yorkshire, we would urge you to report it, no matter how insignificant it may seem via 101 or 999 in an emergency.
“If you do not wish to speak to the police, contact Supporting Victims in North Yorkshire or visit True Vision who can both be contacted confidentially and can offer support and advice.
“The most important thing is to not accept this behaviour and not let it hide within our communities – report it. By reporting it, we can stop it.”
Hate crime is not isolated to verbal or physical abuse. It can also involve vandalism, criminal damage, graffiti or arson, cyberbullying, offensive communications, threats of attack or financial exploitation. All of these incidents can be reported to police.
Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s elected Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Many people will think that hate crime is not a serious problem for North Yorkshire. In fact, in many respects, the opposite is true. We have less diversity in our County than in many police force areas which may lead to some individuals and communities feeling particularly isolated. We need to encourage them to come forward, report the crime they have been a victim of and get the support they need and deserve.
“I have recently given the ‘Supporting Victims’ service authorisation to not just provide support for victims of hate crime but also to enable victims to report the hate crime, without having to go to the police. This is just the latest change I have made as Police and Crime Commissioner to make sure residents are safe and supported at the most difficult of times.”