This year, Hate Crime Awareness Week (October 10-17) falls at a time when our communities are facing the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic
In line with a national trend we have seen an increase in hate crime reports in south Wales during the pandemic, which adds to the importance of this year’s hate crime awareness week. South Wales Police and partners will come together during the week to champion diversity and tolerance and to encourage those who experience hate crime to report it.
A hate incident is when someone experiences an act of hostility which they believe is motivated by their disability, race, religion, transgender identity or sexual orientation (also known as protected characteristics). Verbal abuse, threats of violence, harassment, bullying, intimidation or online abuse are just some of the many forms of hate related incidents.
A hate incident becomes a hate crime when a criminal offence has been committed because of hostility or prejudice based on your disability, race, religion, transgender identity or sexual orientation. A criminal offence is an act that breaks the law and can include offences such as assault, harassment, theft, criminal damage, hate mail and fraud.
Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael said:
“Protecting the vulnerable is an absolutely central priority in my approach to policing and is at the heart of the Police & Crime Plan which spells out the way that I and the Chief Constable approach the policing of South Wales. This can only be achieved by working with a range of partners in all of our communities to get a clear and true understanding of issues and their impact on individuals in order to focus on early intervention and prompt, positive action.
“The victims and witnesses of hate crime are sometimes reluctant to report incidents but we want them to know, beyond doubt, that in South Wales the police are absolutely committed to tackling these issues and providing victims with the support they need, when they need it. South Wales is enriched by the diversity within our communities whereas hate crimes are a pernicious form of cancer which undermines the trust, confidence and cohesion that is essential to safe, confident communities. It demeans us all, not just the victim and the attacker.
“Hate is based on prejudice and twisted ideas – and it has to be rooted out of our communities. This year the Black Lives Matter campaign gave us an opportunity to take a fresh look at ourselves – both by facing up to what is wrong in our society but to value the positive benefits of communities which celebrate diversity and difference. South Wales Police will promote those positive values while also vigorously tackling hate crimes when they occur by encouraging people to report offences, taking action on those reports and working to root out the prejudice that lies behind the offences themselves.”
Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Gilmer added:
“Hate crime should not, and will not, be tolerated, but we know that incidents are underreported and I would encourage anyone who has been a victim to come forward and report their experience. We will do all we can to support you and bring any perpetrators to justice. By reporting hate crime you also help us to stop others from becoming victims.
“I would also remind those who think it’s acceptable to target others because of who they are that hate crimes are serious offences and are never justifiable. Those convicted of committing hate crimes can expect serious consequences for their actions.”
Hate crime and hate incidents can be reported to South Wales Police via 101 or online via this link.