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Gloucestershire Constabulary has appointed a new Hate Crime Coordinator for Gloucestershire. 

PC Steph Lawrence is based at Barton Street, Gloucester but her role will cover the whole county.  She will be working closely with Victim Support and other partners and community groups to raise awareness and give oversight on hate crime.

As the county prepares for National Hate Crime Week (8-15 October 2016) Gloucestershire Constabulary is launching its new, multi-agency Hate Crime Strategy at The Guildhall, Gloucester on Tuesday 11 October.  Integral to this strategy, and in addition to the appointment of the new Hate Crime Co-ordinator, we will be recruiting volunteers across the force to act at Hate Crime Champions.  One of PC Steph Lawrence’s tasks will be establishing the training for these volunteers.

What is hate crime?  Hate crime and hate incidents are those where people are hostilely targeted because of their race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or trans-identity.  There can be ‘hidden’ victims also, including those from travelling communities or asylum seekers.  Older people and the homeless may also be victims of hostility too.

Mary, a victim of hate crime living in Cheltenham said:  “For a while I didn’t want to be here anymore.  I didn’t want to be Asian.  I wanted to take my skin off and dump it.  The abuse I received that night will affect me for the rest of my life – it’s important people know that.”

We have seen a rise in hate crime in Gloucestershire over the past 12 months. From Sep 15 – Aug 16 we’ve recorded 283 hate crimes, which is an average of 24 hate crimes per month. This is an increase of 10.5% compared with the previous year.

Chief Inspector Neil Smith said: “We need to make these actions and behaviours unacceptable within our communities.  To do this we are taking a variety of approaches and working with organisations across all sectors and community groups to raise awareness, take action and support victims.”

This work will be coordinated by The County Hate Crime Strategy Group, led by Chief Inspector Neil Smith, and delivered by partner organisations including Victim Support, GARAS (Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers), GayGlos and Gloscats (Social Support for the Transgendered in Gloucestershire)

The Strategy Group’s goals are:

  • Prevent hate crime and hate incidents through education and raising awareness.
  • Increase reporting levels and ensure victims feel able to report incidents with confidence.
  • Accurately record and monitor incidents of hate crime.  Local and national data will be widely available to inform communities and develop services.
  • Give victims access to a range of support and resolutions, including third party reporting routes, a county hate crime co-ordinator, hate crime champions, police hate crime co-ordinator and victim lead offender resolutions.

Gloucester News Centre – http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk

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