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Hate Crimes

Simon Hill interviewed by Laura Brown

 

Cornwall’s Diversity Officers:

 

East – Colin Gameson

West – Toby Best

  

What is a Hate Incident?

A hate incident is defined as any incident not necessarily a crime percieved by any person to be motivated by hate towards some one due to their race, sexual orientation, disability, transgender, religion and belief.  (The definition is being reviewed in light of the nine protected characteristics in the Single Equality Act)

 

The important factor in the incident is the perception of the individual, if the individual perceives the incident to be a hate incident, then it is.

 

Hate Crime

Hate crime is a hate incident where the incident amounts to a crime.  (Civil law offences for example equal rights to goods and services are not included)

 

Reporting an Incident

 

In person or Call: 101 

Or 999 for an emergency when life or property is in immediate danger

 

When the incident is first reported only brief details are gathered and logged onto the system and graded.

 

Response Times

 

Hate incidents and crimes should always be made subject to an incident log or crime record, the police responce will vary depending on the circumstances of the incident or crime based on risk, harm and vunerability. 

 

 

Process

After the initial report and any immediate police response, the incident follow up will be conducted by either The Neighbourhood Team Officers, consisting of Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSO)or investigators in the Crime Investigation Teams.  Referals and advice will also be sought with Diversity Officers and other agencies like Housing, Education and Partner organisations voluntary and statutory

A full investigation will be carried out collecting evidence before interviewing the suspect; it is at this point the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will be contacted to seek advice if there is enough evidence to proceed. It can be difficult to gather enough evidence to prove a Hate Crime because you need to prove intent and it is often only if the suspect admits the intent to the Hate Crime will the CPS prosecute. Often the suspect will admit to a lesser crime which the Court will usually accept for example under the Public Order Offence under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986:

 

A person is guilty of an offence if they:

 

(a) use threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or

 

(b) display any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.

 

Despite the fact that the police treated the incident as a Hate Crime and the suspect was charged with a Hate Crime if the lesser offence is accepted by the courts this is taken out of the hands of the police.

 

However there are options available to the police other than criminal proceedings:

 

Restorative Justice

 

 

If the offender is considered suitable for restorative justice a meeting will be facilitated by a police officer between the offender and the victim.

 

Restorative Justice gives victims the chance to tell offenders the real impact of their crime, to get answers to their questions and to receive an apology. It gives the offenders the chance to understand the real impact of what they’ve done and to do something to repair the harm. Restorative Justice holds offenders to account for what they have done, personally and directly, and helps victims to get on with their lives.

 

Reprimand

 

Is a formal verbal warning given by a police officer and a record will be kept by the police.

 

Caution

 

An official warning is issued regarding the unacceptability of their behaviour, explaining the consequences of committing further crimes. A caution can be referred to as a conviction in any subsequent court cases

 

Penalty Notice of Disorder (PND)

 

The police can issue a PND if the offender agrees to pay a fixed penalty.  These are widely used to deal with offences like criminal damage, public order and drunkenness; the offender will need to admit the offence to receive the PND.

 

 

By Laura Brown

1st Year BA (Hons) Social Work Student – Community Development Programme

Edited Jun 2014

If you feel uncomfortable about reporting hate crime to the police, below are a number of organisations which offers additional information and support.

 

Stop Hate Crime, UK Raises awareness of Hate Crime, including information in community languages.  Supports individuals, young people and communities affected by Hate Crime. 

 

Runs 24hr helpline for people to report Hate Crime and get support.  Provides training and consultancy about equality, diversity and Hate Crime for adults and young people. http://www.stophateuk.org/

 

Equality South West work through Regional Equality Networks in the South West of England to tackle discrimination and promote and embed equality and diversity within public, private and third sector organisations.

 

The Home Office is the government department responsible for reducing and preventing crime.

 

Devon and Cornwall Police cover the largest geographical police area in England, extending 180 miles from the Dorset and Somerset borders in the east to the Isles of Scilly in the west.

 

Victim Support is the national charity for victims and witnesses of crime in England and Wales.  They give free and confidential help to victims of crime, their family, friends and anyone else affected.

 

Southall Black Sisters provides information, advice, advocacy, practical help, counselling and support to women and children experiencing domestic and sexual violence (including forced marriage and honour crimes). Our holistic services aim to help them escape violence and abuse and deal with a range of inter related problems such as: 

 

Rape and sexual abuse, Sexual harassment, Dowry related abuse, Matrimonial issues,    Child residence and contact, Housing and homelessness, Immigration and asylum, Depression, mental health, suicide and self harm, Policing and crime, Suspicious deaths and coroners' inquests, Civil actions, Human rights and Racism.

 

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) are a government organisation that can pay money (compensation) to people who have been physically or mentally injured because they were the innocent victim of a violent crime.  They offer a free service, processing applications and making awards that range from £1,000 to £500,000.

 

Devon & Cornwall Police –Racial Abuse which incorporated any form of abuse, written, verbal or physical.

 

Crime Stoppers: 0800 555111 (Anon)

 

Force Enquiry Centre: 101

Victim Support: 0845 30 30 900.

 

The Council for Racial Equality in Cornwall

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