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Chief Constable to meet victims of hate crime

Police van in a field

Reinforcing zero tolerance

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer is reinforcing the message that there is no place for hate crime in Devon, Cornwall and the Isle of Scilly by meeting up with victims.

On Wednesday, 19 February, Mr Sawyer will meet with individuals who have been effected by this crime type and some of whom work as independent advisors to the Force, providing advice and promoting the Force’s Zero Tolerance to Hate Crime Campaign.

The day is designed to give members of the public and police the opportunity to discuss the impact that hate crime imposes on our society and how we can further improve our service.

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said: “Our starting position is that this force area has zero tolerance to hate crime. Targeting someone because of who they are is simply wrong. Unfortunately prejudice exists in our communities and many people know of or have heard about someone who has been subjected to a hate crime.

“Our officers have had specific training around how to identify and respond to this crime type. But this is just the beginning, a stepping stone for us to move from seeing hate crime from a policing perspective to an individual perspective. This viewpoint will help us understand the victim impact and the desired outcome.

“My message is clear, I want the public to continue to report hate-related incidents to us; without these matters being shared with us, we are cannot get a true reflection on this crime. The effects are momentous not just for the individual but also the resulting ripple throughout communities.

“We have got better at listening to victims of hate crime, but like all Forces we don’t necessarily truly understand. This is something that we will keep working on.

“People within our communities have a right to respect and hate has no place. We need to celebrate inclusion and diversity. If you see another in need of assistance I ask that you put them in your mind and think about how you can help keep them safe by speaking with us.

“You don’t have to be a victim yourself to report a hate crime and that if someone is subject to on-going hate crime and a third party reported it, we have the option to consider a victimless prosecution. We also use the information to understand what is happening and where, this enables us to identify possible crime patterns and focus resources where they are most needed.

“We continue to work closely with our partners who work tirelessly to support victims across all diverse communities both directly and via our Victim Care Unit.”

Chief Superintendent for local policing Jim Gale said: “There are fewer things more damaging to a person, or to communities, than to be targeted and victimised by prejudice and hate. We will not tolerate such behaviour and will use the law, with the Crown Prosecution Service, to bring those who perpetrate it to justice.

“We will also make sure that we provide support, with partners, to people who report hate incidents and we have specially trained staff to help. We know how hard it can be for people to come forwards, but we would encourage people to do so. This helps us to tackle this type of offending.”

Senior District Crown Prosecutor Kathy Taylor from South West CPS said: “Hate crime can reverberate through entire communities, spreading fear and undermining people’s sense of safety and security. In hate crime cases the CPS can ask the court for an increased sentence to reflect the additional level of seriousness.

“This is known as a sentence uplift. Our prosecutors are trained in the handing of Hate Crime cases, and in 2018 and 2019 the number of convictions where the court announced a sentence uplift reached the highest level yet at 73.6%.

“We are sending a clear message that targeting someone because of an intrinsic part of who they are, whether that is their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity, will not be tolerated and offenders should expect to receive a higher sentence as a result.”


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