PCC supports victims and reinforces that Merseyside is no place for hate13.10.23 - Merseyside
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner is joining together with partner organisations across Merseyside to reinforce the message that those who promote hatred and division will never be welcome in our region.
Emily Spurrell is taking part in a partnership week of action between Saturday 14th and Friday 20th October, to mark National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2023, with events in every area of Merseyside to tackle incidents of hate and urge anyone affected to report it and seek help.
The activities will kick off on Sunday in Southport with organisations and traders from across the borough, who want to show their support for the LGBTQIA+ community, setting up stalls in the Southport Market Events Space.
On Monday the PCC will join Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and representatives from LCR Pride to launch a brand new initiative aimed at helping people who feel vulnerable, distressed or are being targeted with abuse or intimidation.
New ‘Safe Spaces’ have been created at travel hubs across the Liverpool City Region. The locations provide a temporary refuge where someone can go if they need help and support while they call and wait for a family member or friend to collect them, or for the police to arrive.
On Wednesday, the Deputy Police Commissioner will join local councillors in St Helens for a Hate Crime Ambassador event which will see them receive hate crime training and discuss ways they can use their councillor surgeries as 3rd party reporting centres.
On Thursday morning, a partnership walkabout and leaflet drop is taking place in Sefton, with the PCC's team joining local policing teams, housing organisations, Mersey Fire and Rescue Service and Sefton Council member spreading anti-hate messages and offering visible support to those communities.
The week rounds off in Wirral with a walkabout taking place around local shops in Birkenhead to mark the close of hate Crime Awareness Week as well as Safer Business Week.
Throughout the week, the Commissioner will also be promoting Stop Hate UK as well as local organisations and charities The Anthony Walker Foundation, Daisy Inclusive UK, Citizen's Advice and Victim Care Merseyside, all of which offer tailored support for victims of hate and prejudice.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “Tackling hate crime is a priority for me and National Hate Crime Awareness Week gives us all the opportunity to highlight the real damage that hatred and prejudice can inflict on individuals and communities, whilst also providing us with a platform to celebrate the rich diversity that exists across Merseyside.
“Crimes motivated by hate have no place in our region and they will not be tolerated, so I’m pleased to come together with our partners to send out the message – loud and clear – that Merseyside is inclusive and welcomes all. It is home to people of all races and faiths, of all sexual orientations and genders and to people of all abilities, and our communities are enriched as a result.
“Those who look to peddle hatred and division go against everything our region stands for.
“Sadly, we know that if stereotypes and hate-fuelled attitudes are allowed to fester and are not tackled at the earliest stage they can lead to very serious crimes that can have devastating consequences on many lives.
“Changing hearts and minds is the answer and long-term education is the key to rooting out those individuals who would seek to cause division. By promoting diversity, equality and inclusivity ages in our schools, colleges and universities we can ensure our young people grow up in a more fair and equal society that allows them to be free to be who they want to be and to love who they want to love. That’s how we can make generational change that leaves a lasting legacy.
“Despite the pain and suffering that hate crime inflicts, we know most people who are targeted still do not report it. That’s why we’re determined to raise awareness of the issue and I would encourage anyone affected to have the confidence to speak out.
“There are so many organisations on hand to help. Merseyside Police are committed to tackling these harmful crimes and have a team of dedicated hate crime coordinators who provide tailored support to a victim throughout an investigation.
“For anyone who does not feel comfortable speaking to the police, I commission the independent charity Stop Hate UK to provide a confidential reporting helpline available 24 hours a day. This means anybody affected can report it anonymously without speaking to the police.
“I also work with three fantastic local charities, the Anthony Walker Foundation, Daisy Inclusive UK and Citizens Advice Liverpool, to provide emotional support, practical assistance and information to anyone affected.
“To be targeted and to suffer fear and intimidation, just because of who you are or how you choose to live your life is unacceptable and just one victim of hate and prejudice is one victim too many.
“I hope this week of activity will give more victims the confidence to speak out and get the support they need so they can live free from fear. Please don’t suffer in silence.”
To help ensure that all Hate Crime is managed, recorded and investigated in a robust manner, Merseyside Police employs five dedicated Hate Crime Coordinators for each area of Merseyside. Each coordinator provides specialist advice and support for all Hate Crime victims and works with partner agencies to identify and develop strategies to prevent and reduce repeat offences.
The coordinators also work with their local authorities, education providers, travel companies and businesses to provide them with the tools and resources that will encourage them to call out and challenge hate when they see it. The force acknowledges that not all victims of hate crime would wish for police action or for prosecution, so if more organisations have the awareness and methods to confront the issue, this will help us bring the offender to justice.
To support the week of action, there are a range of activities happening across Merseyside to help prevent hate crime and increase awareness of the support available to anyone affected. Each of the Hate Crime Coordinators will be conducting numerous hate crime presentations to drive the awareness of what constitutes as a hate crime and how and when to report it. These will be taking place across Merseyside in various primary schools, colleges job centres, councils and LGBTQ+ and disability community groups. There will also be an additional presentation at Everton Football Club, presenting to their youth team to help reduce hate crime in the football community.
Some of the coordinators will also be visiting groups and local services to promoting the Disability Hate Crime Ambassadors scheme. This is a unique peer-to-peer reporting scheme whereby members of the disabled community are trained to become hate crime ambassadors who can then take initial reports of any crime within their community and disability day centres and then pass these reports on to the coordinator for progression regarding assessment, investigation and victim support provision.
Detective Superintendent Cheryl Rhodes said: “Merseyside has a reputation for being a welcoming, friendly place and there is no place here for hate crime. Everybody has the right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect and so we will not tolerate hate crime in any form.
“Our officers and team of dedicated hate crime co-ordinators work tirelessly to provide support to victims of hate crime, investigate such incidences and find those responsible, bringing them to justice.
“We work closely with partner organisations including LCR Pride, the Michael Causer Foundation, Citizens Advice Liverpool, local councils, and licenced premises across Merseyside to understand community concerns, educate people on the harm that hate causes in our communities, and develop our awareness and encourage reporting.
“We also support the Police and Crime Commissioner and partners on the ‘You’re Safe Here’ scheme to create safe spaces in venues across the Liverpool City Region. This involves delivering training and resources to enable them to support someone that has been the victim of a crime, feels intimidated or is in need of assistance.
“As a result of this collaborative work with our partners, I am pleased to report that Merseyside has seen a 10% decrease in Hate Crime reports for the last 6 months compared to the same period last year. That being said however, Hate Crime is still very much an ongoing issue, so I would still urge for anyone who believes they have been subjected to abuse or left in fear because of who they are to come forward and let us know. We have the support available and we will take action against those responsible.”
Anyone with information about hate crime can contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’. You can also call 101.
Alternatively, Stop Hate UK are available 24/7 on 0800 138 1625 or at www.stophateuk.org. You can also download the Stop Hate UK reporting app on Google Play or the Apple App Store.
If you’ve been affected by crime, Victim Care Merseyside can also help. For free, confidential advice and support, call Freephone 0808 175 3080 on weekdays between 8am and 6pm. Alternatively, request support at www.victimcaremerseyside.org at any time.