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This week Merseyside Police is supporting a week of action to encourage communities to come together to join our fight to eliminate hate crime as part of National Hate Crime Awareness Week.
Hate crime can involve people being targeted based on their disability, gender identity, race, religion and sexual orientation. Merseyside Police expand these strands further and also monitor hate crime against those who sex work, which is seen as unique but often best practice for the support provided. The force believes that every person in Merseyside has the right to go about their lives without being the target of abusive language or criminal behaviour motivated by hate or prejudice.
Everyone has a role in tackling hate crime and eliminating it from society. We take our role in this extremely seriously but call upon all sections of society to stand with us and state very clearly that these incidents will never be tolerated.
One of the main ways the force looks to proactively tackle the issue is by working with local authorities, education providers, travel companies and businesses to encourage them to call out and challenge hate when they see it. We acknowledge that not all victims of hate crime would wish for police action or for prosecution, which is why the force is keen to drive awareness and methods to confront the issue as and when it happens.
The public can also play a crucial role in spotting hate crime and telling us about it. Information on where such offences are happening is a vital tool in the fight to rid our streets of hate crime. Once we are able to identify offenders, we can make sure we bring them to justice and ultimately ensure we protect all of our communities from being subjected to any hateful behaviour.
To support the week of action, there are a range of activities happening across Merseyside to help prevent hate crime and increase awareness of the support available to anyone affected. In the Sefton area, our regional Hate Crime Coordinators will be involved in the following activity:
Superintendent Sarah Kenwright said: “Merseyside has a reputation for being a welcoming, friendly place and there is no place here for hate crime.
“If you are aware of a repeat offender on your street, of an individual or family who are being subjected to hate, or if you see anything online or while out and about, please tell us. We want to actively encourage our communities to be our eyes and ears and firmly believe they play a crucial role in spotting and reporting a hate crime.
Supt Kenwright added: “I would also urge any victim of hate crime in Merseyside to please come forward. It is vital that we give our support to anyone who believes they have been subjected to abuse or left in fear because of who they are, and I want to reassure the public that we will take action against those responsible.
“We have officers and staff dedicated to protecting victims of hate crime who will make sure you will be supported at every step as sensitively as possible.”
A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: "We want to do everything we can to send the message out that Hate Crime will not be tolerated in Sefton and to give people the confidence to report abuse and not suffer in silence.
"It's really important that people know about the Centres as they provide a safe environment for victims and witnesses to report hate crime and to receive advice and support."
Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner, Emily Spurrell, said: “National Hate Crime Awareness Week is an important date in the calendar for me. It gives us all the opportunity to celebrate and promote the rich diversity of our communities, while coming together to reaffirm and renew our commitment to challenging and tackling all acts of hatred and prejudice.
“At a time when our country sadly still feels quite divided and, in the wake of a recent increase in incidents of hate crime, it is more important than ever that we remain vigilant to combat discrimination, abuse and prejudice.
“Let me make it clear, crimes motivated by hate have no place in our society.
“I’m pleased to be working with partners and communities across the region to send out the message – loud and clear – that our region is diverse, it is inclusive and it is welcoming. Those who look to spread and breed hatred are have no place here.”
If you have witnessed a hate crime, or have any information, please contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook Merseyside Police Contact Centre. You can also call 101.
If, for any reason, you do not wish to the report to the police, Stop Hate UK will ensure you get the appropriate emotional and practical support. They offer a free, confident and accessible 24/7 reporting service for all victims of hate crime, including multi-lingual reporting, the Stop Hate UK app, phone line 0800 138 1625 and webchat www.stophateuk.org.
Anyone affected by hate crime can visit www.victimcaremerseyside.org for help, advice and to get the contact details for organisations which can offer support.