New pledge on hate crime to increase reporting
Published 14th October 2016
A drive to make sure people recognise hate crime and know how to report it is under way in Sandwell.
A best practice forum held this week as part of National Hate Crime Awareness Week highlighted concerns about under-reporting of incidents.
Organisations including Sandwell Council, West Midlands Police, Rights and Equality Sandwell and Victim Support agreed to raise greater awareness, especially around how to report incidents.
As well as promoting ways to report online or by phone, they are reviewing – and looking to increase – places in the local community where people can raise issues.
The key message of the Sandwell Against Hate campaign is:
Don’t be a victim of hate just because of who you are, what you look like, what you wear, what you believe or who you love. REPORT IT!
During Monday’s forum event, held in the Council Chamber at Sandwell Council House, Oldbury, delegates heard from several speakers who put across the victim’s voice, include a victim of hate crime.
Students at Wodensborough Ormiston Academy, Wednesbury, also gave a powerful presentation.
Councillor Preet Gill, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for public health and protection, said: “It was a really positive event, with everyone determined to put victims first and look at how we can better support people who are subjected to these horrible incidents.
“Firstly, we want people to know how to recognise a hate crime and, secondly, to have the information and confidence to be able to report it.
“We’re particularly looking at the places in the community – known as ‘third party reporting centres’ – where people can report incidents, to make sure everyone, including young people and faith communities, can easily access them.”
Organisations also agreed to build on the existing good work of the Safer Sandwell Hate Crime Partnership Group by:
- Involving young people more – to help prevent hate crime and nip problems in the bud early, and to promote greater tolerance and reduce incidents in the long-term;
- Improving training for people who work or volunteer on the frontline – to offer a consistent service to victims;
- Strengthening partnership working – especially with community organisations; and
- Improving intelligence and better identifying hate crime offences at the start of investigations.
Future plans may also include a joint conference with local community and voluntary groups.
Hate crimes can take place anywhere and to anyone, whether it is face-to-face, on the phone, online or a verbal or physical confrontation.
There are several ways to report a hate crime.
Or you can call:
- Sandwell Council: 0121 569 6000
- Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111
- Police (non-emergencies): 101
- Police (emergencies): 999
Places in the local community where you can report will also be announced soon.