24 hour hate crime hotline launched in North Yorkshire
Categories: Latest News
Wednesday April 15 2015
The York Press reports on the set up of a 24 hour hate crime hotline in North Yorkshire providing support to victims in the hope of improving hate crime reporting.
Hate crimes in the North Yorkshire region rose by 21% on the previous year with 387 hate crime offences recorded in 2013/2014 across all the monitored strands (race, religion, disability and gender-identity).
The full scale of hate crime is however believed to be much higher with under-reporting contributing to a fraction of the actual crimes coming to police attention.
A Home Office report on hate crime drawing on data from police recording of hate crime incidents and the Crime Survey of England and Wales found that only 40 percent of hate crime offences are brought to the attention of the police.
Welcoming the launch of the new hate crime hotline, the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, Julia Mulligan, said “The launch of the Stop Hate telephone line is an important step forward in dealing with this problem, and I hope that community leaders, teachers and support groups will really get behind the Stop Hate initiative.”
Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick, of North Yorkshire police added, “Part of the reason for low reporting is that many people aren’t sure exactly what a hate crime is, or where and how to report it. We want to spread the word that name-calling, verbal threats, graffiti, bullying and damage to personal property doesn’t have to be tolerated, and that victims of such behaviour can call the Stop Hate helpline to report what has happened and get advice on what to do.”
Improving the reporting of hate crime offences is important if the true scale of criminals acts is to be deduced and offenders prosecuted. But the quality of recorded data is also vital if more is to be learnt about hate crime offences targeted at particular groups. While police forces currently record racist, anti-semitic, homophobic and disability hate crimes in specific categories, anti-Muslim hate crime is less easily deduced because of the aggregation of race and religious hate crime data. It is not presently possible to identify the number of race or religious hate crimes in which the victim’s identity was Muslim.
The recording of Islamophobia as a separate category of hate crime by the police is something we advocated in our manifesto for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in 2012 and have since had some success with 10 out of the 42 constabularies in England and Wales agreeing to introduce an Islamophobia crime flag. The recording of Islamophobia as a separate category of crime has previously only been done by the Metropolitan Police Service in London.
The Labour Party’s BAME manifesto, which was launched yesterday, confirms the party’s commitment to proper recording of anti-Muslim hate crime stating: “[W]e will make sure hate crime is properly recorded, including incidents of Islamophobia, as is currently the case with other types of crime.”