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Victims of hate crime are being urged to report incidents of abuse to police as part of a national campaign being supported by Derbyshire police.
Launched in Derbyshire today, the first national Stephen Lawrence Day, the campaign – called “It’s not just offensive. It’s an offence” – hopes to increase reporting and understanding of what a hate crime is.
Superintendent Tracy Lewis from Derbyshire police, said: “Today, on Stephen Lawrence Day, we remember the devastating impact that hate can have on victims, their family and friends and the communities and country we live in.
“Over recent years Derbyshire Constabulary has been working hard to ensure that victims of hate crime, whatever the motive, understand that, as a force, we take their concerns seriously.
“This campaign gives clear examples to victims about the type of behaviour that constitutes a hate crime and, we hope, will act as a prompt to them to contact us if they have had the same thing happen to them.
“We also work closely with independent organisations that provide support to victims, such as Tell MAMA, to help improve the service we deliver.”
The campaign is also supported by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa, who leads on hate crime nationally for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.
He said: “The murder of Stephen Lawrence remains one of the most significant events in policing history, highlighting major issues around racism at the time, not only within the police force, but within Britain itself.
“Tackling hate, bigotry and intolerance needs more than pure enforcement. And we have to start early.
“The kinds of attitudes that fuel violence and hate on our streets and in our classrooms can only persist if society reserves a place for them. This must be reinforced in our nurseries, schools, youth centres and of course the family home.
“When our children become adults we need them to show values of respect, appreciation and acceptance.
“Nobody expects to be able to eradicate hate crime overnight but we are doing everything we can to ensure this crime is given the full attention it deserves.”
Superintendent Lewis, continued: “We rely on victims and witnesses to come forward with information about hate crimes because if we do not know about it then we cannot help.
“Anyone with any information should call us, or one of the independent hate crime organisations, and together we can help put an end to hate crime.”
If you have been a victim of hate crime, and the incident is happening there and then whether in person or online, call 999.
If the incident you are reporting is not occurring at the time of the call then please use the 101 non-emergency number.
There are also independent groups that victims are able to report incidents to, such as Stop Hate UK, Tell MAMA and True Vision.
You can learn more about Stephen Lawrence Day here.