Hate crime victims urged to report incidents to police
Residents in Lancashire are being asked to report all hate crime and hate incidents to police after a national rise in reported offences.
While Lancashire Police has not had an increase in reported incidents, officers are concerned victims in the county have experienced abuse and are not reporting crimes.
The concerns come after True Vision, the national website for hate crime, noted a rise in reports of hate crime and hate incidents across the country last weekend.
Police are urging all victims of hate crime or hate incidents to contact officers and report these offences immediately.
Chief Insp. Ian Mills, of Lancashire Police, said: “We stand together with all communities and will take action against any criminal behaviour which seeks to undermine society, especially where crimes are motivated by hate.
“Hate crimes are committed by a small minority of people and are not representative of the public.
“While we have not seen an increase in reported hate crimes and hate incidents in Lancashire, there is clearly some concern in the community these crimes may be experienced but go unreported.
“We have zero tolerance for hate crime and hate incidents or any abuse.
“We take all reports of this nature seriously.”
Hate crimes are any crimes targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards that person’s disability, race, ethnicity, religion, belief, sexual orientation or transgender identity.
Such offences can include name-calling and vulgarity.
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, added: "Hate crime is absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Lancashire. But police can only take action if these incidents are reported, either directly or through a third party service.
"I know some residents are concerned following reports in the national media and it is a sad fact that many people still do not feel confident reporting incidents.
“Free and confidential specialist support is available through Lancashire Victim Services, who can even help with reporting incidents. Young people who experience crime can get help from Nest Lancashire by texting NEST to 60777.
"Here in Lancashire we pride ourselves on having a diverse and inclusive community and it is a shame when a small minority forget this.
“I was shocked and disgusted to hear reports a young Polish man in the county was recently targeted with racial abuse by someone who used the result of the EU referendum to justify their behaviour.
"This is exactly the kind of behaviour that needs to be reported to police and I would urge anyone who experiences or witnesses hate crime to report it.”
There are a number of ways people can do this.
These include the Lancashire Council of Mosques helpline, where trained call handlers are available to take calls and work with the victims. The service can be contacted on (01254) 589699.
Alternatively, staff at Lancashire Victim Services can take third party reports and provide essential support and counseling for all victims of hate crime and hate incidents.
They can be contacted on 0300 323 0085 or viawww.lancashirevictimservices.org.
Anyone who experiences hate crime can report it to police by calling 101, via the True Vision website (www.report-it.org.uk) or third party reporting services in Lancashire.
Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency, always dial 999.
For more information, go to www.lancashire.police.uk and search ‘hate crime’.