Driving hate crime out of Halton Date published: 5th October 2016 9.57am

Widnes Police are working with partners as part of a campaign aimed at raising awareness of hate crime, tackling the issue and supporting victims.

To publicise the campaign Widnes Police teamed up with the Widnes Vikings Stefan Marsh, Halton Borough Council, Halton Transport and Arriva North West on Thursday 22 September.

Chief Inspector Richard Rees, who is leading the initiative, said: “Any hate crimes and public space violence is unacceptable which is why we have come together to send a message that Hate Crime will not be tolerated and that victims will be supported.”

As part of the Halton-wide initiative, Sergeant Leeroy Moss and PC Lee Hillyard have been designated Hate Crime and Communities Officers - the go to specialists for Halton officers and staff who need advice on dealing with the crime.

There is also specialist training and development being rolled out for officers along with more integrated partnership working to ensure those on the frontline can deal with the issue robustly.

Halton Transport and Arriva North West are also taking part in this initiative, working closely with the Police and partner agencies. As part of this joined up approach they are also displaying TrueVision posters on each of their buses, providing reassurance to victims and raising awareness of the third party reporting support available.

PC Hillyard said: “The focus is very much on supporting victims and recognising the affect such a crime has not only for the victim, but for the community as a whole. We want people to feel safe and feel they can go about their business, no matter who they are, without fear of violence or threat.”

Halton Borough Council's Executive Board Member for Community Safety, Cllr Dave Cargill, said: "Hate crime of any kind is bullying and should not be tolerated. It a positive step that all the agencies have got together to make a stand.”

His views were echoed by Halton’s MYP, Thomas Norris, who has helped organise Halton Borough Council’s Halton Against Hate event later this month, said: “Anything to raise awareness and re-educate people has to be a positive move.”

To celebrate diversity within the wider Halton area, Youth Parliament member Tom Norris, supported by Widnes Police and Partnerships will be hosting the ‘Halton Against Hate’ event will be held at Runcorn Shopping Centre on Wednesday 26th October 2016, all are welcome to attend.