Cheshire Constabulary is raising awareness of hate crime this week, committed to tackling hate crime in all its forms.
Hate Crime Week aims to educate people on what hate crime is, encourage them to report all instances of it – either directly to police or via one of the growing numbers of third party reporting centres across Cheshire – and highlight the support services that are available to both victims and witnesses.
Cheshire Constabulary is committed to making the experience of reporting hate crime as easy as possible for all victims and witnesses.
A large number of third party reporting centres spread across the county are listed on the force’s website. They include charities and public venues and provide help and support for people who would prefer not to report a hate crime directly to police.
Julie Cooke, Deputy Chief Constable at Cheshire Constabulary, said: “Everyone in Cheshire should feel free to be themselves. No one should face violence, abuse or hatred just because of who they are, who they love, where they are from, what they look like or what they believe.
“Being targeted because of your race, gender identity, religion/faith, sexual orientation or disability is a hate crime and we are determined to do all we can to stop all forms of hate crime. I would always encourage people to speak to the police if they are subject to hate crime. We take all reports extremely seriously and we are supported by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
"There is also a programme of training and support for a wide range of voluntary organisations and service user groups to provide a third party reporting service for victims and witnesses. They offer a safe and comfortable environment and all the help and support people need with reporting a hate crime.
“They will help you fill in an easy-to-complete form on the True Vision website which police will then use to investigate the hate crime thoroughly.
Inspector Lindsay Dixon, Cheshire Constabulary’s hate crime lead, added: “The public will be aware that hate crime reports increased both in Cheshire and nationally last year, but some parts of the Cheshire community are still not reporting incidents.
“Third party reporting centres are community service-based allies that help us ensure that as many of the incidents of hate crime that take place in Cheshire are reported to us as possible.
“We will not stand for hate crime and have strict protocols to ensure that every incident is dealt with, with the victim firmly in mind.
“Every victim is directed to Cheshire Cares, an enhanced service offering free emotional and practical support to help victims cope and recover from the impact of crime.”
Hate crime can be reported to Cheshire Constabulary by calling 101 or, in an emergency 999. However, if you do not feel comfortable talking to the police you can report it online via True Vision at www.report-it.org.uk/home or at a third party reporting centre. For the full list of reporting centres in Cheshire visit www.cheshire.police.uk/advice-and-support/hate-crime/third-party-reporting-centres.