Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach today announced the launch of a ground-breaking pilot project working with perpetrators of hate crime to address their behaviour.
The PCC, in conjunction with Leicestershire Police, has commissioned the University of Leicester to design and develop an innovative educational programme specifically targeted at those who have committed a hate crime within the force area.
The pilot will be led by the University’s Centre for Hate Studies and will run from 2019 to 2020, utilising the knowledge and experience of community “experts” to design, plan and deliver the new programme.
It comes as figures indicate the number of hate crimes recorded by the police is likely to increase across the county over the next 12 months.
In 2017-18, 94,098 incidents of hate crime were recorded within the UK.
In Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, 1,471 incidents were recorded between June 2017 and May 2018. Although it is difficult to predict accurate figures, it is anticipated that the number of victims of hate crime will increase by 29% across the area throughout 2018-19.
However, the real number of victims is likely to be far higher as many hate crimes go unreported, particularly disability, sexual orientation and transgender hate crimes.
Announcing the new pilot, Willy Bach said: “Hate crime is driven by intolerance, bigotry and prejudice and the only way we will ever succeed in stopping it is to challenge and change the perspectives of those who commit it.
“This new project is a real first and I’m very proud to be working with the University of Leicester to deliver it. We need to better understand what motivates people to commit these crimes and intervene early doors before such behaviour escalates and further damages our communities.
“Hatred breeds division and separation and undermines the very fabric of community life. Rehabilitation is the only way we will prevent reoffending in the long-term and protect future generations of potential victims.”
Individuals will be selected to attend a series of educational workshops with the aim of addressing their behaviour through a community resolution sanction.
The workshops will be aimed at low level perpetrators at the pre-court stage and aim to fulfil the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan goals to reduce hate crime and increase support for victims.
Isla Dixon, the force’s Hate Crime officer added: “We need to understand what drives intolerance before we can address how to prevent further crimes of this nature. This innovative project will go straight to the heart of this. By talking to past perpetrators we can get a far better picture of the intolerances that are the driving force behind such criminal behaviour. I look forward to seeing the results of this pilot.”
Dr Stevie-Jade Hardy who is leading the project and is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Hate Studies, University of Leicester, said: “The scale of repeat victimisation suffered by many victims shows that conventional approaches to dealing with hate crime are failing to tackle the hostile attitudes which motivate it. This is why we are delighted to have been commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner to deliver this ground-breaking project which provides the opportunity to work with perpetrators to address their behaviour.”
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Posted on Thursday 16th May 2019