This week it’s National Hate Crime Awareness Week
Hate crime is any crime that is targeted at someone because of hostility or prejudice towards that person’s, disability, ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation or transgender identity. The victim does not have to be a member of the group at which the hostility is targeted. Anyone can be a victim of a hate crime.
We are fortunate to live in a country where diversity is all around us. This is particularly true in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. For me, this makes for a healthier, more vibrant, more resilient community. That’s why every hate incident undermines community cohesion and harmony
This year, global events have prompted us to examine how we live together more closely. The experiences of those on the receiving end of hostility and prejudice must be listened to and acted upon.
Coincidentally, last week I met (virtually of course) with representatives from Leicester’s many different faith communities. All present agreed that hate crime has a destructive effect on society. We all have a duty to confront it.
A prominent Christian leader described loneliness as, ‘A defining phenomenon of the 21st Century’. She argued that loneliness makes people more vulnerable to exploitation and manipulation by extremists. COVID19 is making things much worse. The meeting also heard that many Muslim women suffer from frequent abuse and even physical interference because of their head coverings. Alas, too few of these incidents are reported. In fact, I was told that, if all incidents were reported, the victims might have little time for anything else.
Such incidents are deeply offensive. The perpetrators should be ashamed of themselves. Criminal acts of this nature are utterly unacceptable in our diverse community.
Hate crime and discrimination are never acceptable, on whatever premise or cause. As long as I am Police and Crime Commissioner, I will be asking for the toughest possible action to be taken against hate crime both by the police and by the courts.
Hate Crime Awareness Week will be full of stories. Many will be inspirational. Some will be painful, but this week especially, we should listen to every word.
Say no to hate. Together we can stamp it out.
12 October 2020
Posted on Monday 12th October 2020