That’s the message from Cheshire police, who are encouraging anyone subjected to a hate crime to speak out and report it.
It comes during Hate Crime Awareness Week, which runs from Saturday 14 – 21 October and is focusing on hate crime linked to public transport and disability.
Officers across the county will be out an about during the week encouraging victims to speak out, advising on what support is available, and providing public transport links with hate crime support literature.
As an example, Warrington officers have been working extremely hard with the local council and Network Warrington to make their presence felt during the week. The week-long campaign will show solidarity against hate crime in the town, under the hashtag #OneTeamWarrington.
Inspector David Gordon, the force’s hate crime lead, said: “To be a victim of crime is never acceptable, but to be a victim of crime because of who you are is particularly hurtful. It is really important for us to educate people about the impact hate crime can have on the victim - why should anyone be in fear to use public transport because they might have abuse hurled at them? Partner agencies supporting disabled people tell us that they are often the target for abuse while travelling on public transport – these can be subtle things like passengers moving away from them or more direct abuse by calling them names.
“We treat hate crime seriously all year round, not just for one week, but Hate Crime Awareness Week gives the Constabulary an opportunity to highlight the effects this behaviour can have on the victim, and really drive home the message that we will not stand for hate crime in our communities. We want people to feel safe and feel they can go about their daily business, no matter who they are, without fear of violence or threat.”
Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, David Keane, said: “Hate crime is completely unacceptable - people should not have to live in fear of persecution and it will not be tolerated in our county. Hate Crime Awareness Week is a great opportunity for us to highlight the issue and raise awareness of the impact it can have on the victim and the local community.
“It is fundamental that victims have the confidence to speak out if they have been subjected to a hate crime. The Constabulary continues to invest in victim services, such as Cheshire Cares, as it is really important to me that victims get the full support that they are not only entitled to, but deserve.”
Hate crime is a criminal offence committed against a person or property that is motivated in whole or in part by the offender’s hostility towards someone based on a personal characteristic. This can include:
Inspector Gordon added: “Officers will be out and about encouraging anyone suffering from this type of crime to come forward and report it - either to police or to one of our third party reporting centres – which are listed on our website.
“It is imperative that, should anyone fall victim to hate crime, they have the confidence to report it. I want members of the public to know that the Constabulary will do everything we can to support you. We will investigate the incident thoroughly and make sure that the perpetrator is made to face the consequences of their actions.”
Hate crime can be reported to the police using 101, or in an emergency 999. However, if you don’t feel comfortable talking to the police, you can report it online via True Vision (http://www.report-it.org.uk/home) or at a third party community reporting centre( https://www.cheshire.police.uk/advice-and-support/hate-crime/)