Council addresses community tensions with partners


Plymouth City Council Leader Councillor Ian Bowyer says the authority is committed to working with police to crack down on any incidents of hate crime following the EU Referendum.

Councillor Bowyer met Chief Superintendent Andy Boulting to discuss community tension following the EU Referendum result.

Plymouth MPs Johnny Mercer and Oliver Colvile also attended the meeting.

Councillor Bowyer said the council was already doing a lot of proactive work with partners to promote Plymouth as a welcoming city and tackle hate incidents and the meeting had reinforced the commitment to continue this work.

Across the country there have been a number of hate crime incidents since the result of the referendum and while the number in Plymouth has been small, local agencies are working together to make sure people know that hate crimes and incidents will not be tolerated.

Councillor Bowyer said: “We all strongly condemn any incidents of hate and that we must send out a clear message that we will deal with any incidents reported to us in Plymouth, working with partners in the police force and community.

“Although there has not been a significant increase in racist incidents in Plymouth since last week, we have had a small number reported to us and any incident of hate is completely unacceptable.

“Plymouth is a diverse and welcoming city and it is essential that all our residents and visitors can feel safe. Hate incidents such as bullying and harassment, graffiti, anti-social behaviour, name calling and vandalism will not be tolerated.

“We have trained frontline staff in the council and some other local organisations about hate crime, incidents, discrimination and how to report and challenge this.

“Last financial year we recorded 694 hate incidents across the city and this year, by the end of May, had recorded over 100.  90% of victims say they are satisfied with the support we offer in response. Our work in liaison with victims may include removal of graffiti, negotiating between the victim and a local organisation or signposting to specialist agencies. If a crime has been committed, we work closely with the Police and have been developing our third party reporting to give people the option of reporting to the voluntary and community sector, remaining anonymous if they wish.

“To promote understanding between different communities, we run events such as Hate Crime Awareness week in October each year and community events with partners in areas where we have a higher number of incidents.

“We would urge anyone who feels they have been a victim of a hate incident because of their race, faith or belief, disability, sexual orientation, or if they are transgender, to report it immediately.

“If anyone is a victim of a hate incident or witnesses one, contact our Social Inclusion Unit on 01752 304321 or email inclusion@plymouth.gov.uk

More information on reporting incidents is available on our website here http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/homepage/communityandliving/socialinclusion/hatecrime.htm

 

Reporting incidents to the police:

Emergency

Telephone:      999

SMS/Text:      999 – if you are Deaf/hard of hearing or speech impaired

Non Emergency

Telephone:      101

SMS/Text:      67101 – if you are Deaf/hard of hearing or speech impaired

Email:             101@dc.police.uk

To make a Third Party Report: http://www.report-it.org.uk/report_a_hate_crime