West Yorkshire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire are supporting the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Thursday, 3 December, as they continue to raise awareness of what constitutes a hate crime and encourage reporting.
A joint hate crime campaign was relaunched in October to raise awareness of hate crime. This month, to coincide with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the campaign will be focusing on disability hate crime, to support anyone who is targeted as a result of their physical disability, sensory impairment, learning disability or mental health disorder or condition.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Angela Williams said: “A key part of our hate crime campaign is encouraging victims and witnesses to report incidents and it is important, particularly for those with physical and mental disabilities, that we remove any barriers that may prevent them from doing so.
“We have produced information on what constitutes a hate incident or hate crime and how it can be reported in a number of forms, including BSL/subtitled videos and Easy Read leaflets. On our website, victims of disability hate crime speak out about the impact this kind of behaviour has on their lives, and one of our specialist hate crime officers explains what happens when someone reports a hate crime.
“Hate crime of any kind is not acceptable and if people are experiencing or witnessing this kind of behaviour, we want to hear about it.”
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Hate crime, which is a crime committed against someone because of who they are is unacceptable and a horrible experience for victims. We all have a responsibility to challenge the attitudes and behaviours that foster hatred and tackling hate crime, which includes disability hate crime, is a key priority in the Police and Crime Plan.
“As part of my continued commitment to hate crime I have launched a one off £100,000 extraordinary grant for organisations to tackle hate crime and which is being funded from my Victim Support Services Fund. There are no upper or lower limits on grant amounts that individuals or organisations can bid for but successful applicants will be able to demonstrate the outcome in the Police and Crime Plan that all victims and witnesses are supported. I have also supported groups that deal with disability hate crime and gave nearly £4,000 from my Safer Communities Fund to help create a ‘Safer Places’ scheme that aims to assist vulnerable people with learning disabilities, autism and dementia to feel safer when travelling independently.”
Anyone with information about a hate incident is asked to report it either by calling 999 in an emergency or 101 in a non-emergency or in person at a police station. You can also use an online hate incident reporting form which is available via the WY Police website: www.westyorkshire.police.uk/hatecrime
For deaf or speech impaired people there is a textphone service via 07786 200200 or text relay on 18001 101.
Alternatively, there are independent Hate Incident Reporting Centres (HIRCs) across West Yorkshire for anyone who does not want to speak directly to the police. To find your nearest centre visit the West Yorkshire Police website.