A representative from the Polish Embassy met with Plymouth City Council and Devon and Cornwall Police today to show support for Plymouth’s Polish community following recent hate crime incidents.
Michal Mazurek, head of the Consular Section of the Polish Embassy, visited Plymouth to meet with a Polish family who were the victims of an arson attack and hate mail, and then met with representatives from the Council and police at Crownhill Police Station to ensure the Polish community feel safe, secure and welcome.
Others attending the meeting included Chief Superintendent Andy Boulting, Leader of Plymouth City Council Councillor Ian Bowyer, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities Councillor David Downie, Chief Executive of Plymouth City Council Tracey Lee, and the Council’s Head of Neighbourhoods and Communities, Pete Aley.
Michal Mazurek, head of the Consular Section of the Polish Embassy, said: “We were shocked by the hate crime attack on a Polish family in Plymouth. The local authorities and the police assured me that they are doing everything in their power to find the arsonists and prevent any xenophobic incidents against Poles and other migrants in the future. I spoke to the family earlier today, and would like to thank the authorities for treating their case very seriously and for offering all the necessary support in the recent days.
“The Polish Embassy co-operates with local authorities across the country following every xenophobic incident. We are very concerned to see an escalation of the attacks from verbal abuse or graffiti to life-threatening crimes. We urge everyone who witnesses or falls victim of similar attacks to report immediately to the police.”
Chief Superintendent Andy Boulting said: “I am concerned and distressed at the victimisation suffered by one of our families who have made our proud city home.
“This incident is very serious and the fact that it follows other incidents of hate crime targeting family members in their home and in the community is very professionally and personally upsetting.
“Crimes motivated by hate are particularly harmful and challenging to recover from. The family have been supported by the local policing team and wider partnership and we will find those responsible.
“I am proud to share our great city with people from all over the world and have been lucky to see how this diversity makes us socially and economically richer. I and my teams stand alongside all our communities and especially the Polish community at this time as I understand how this will affect how they feel and what impact this has on their day to day lives.
“The investigation is being delivered by specially trained and experienced hate crime detectives and they will work with the neighbourhood policing team to safeguard all the family members and wider community.
“It is the responsibility of us all to work together in tackling hate and discrimination in whatever form it takes and I would ask the community to help us to do that by coming forward with any information they may have regarding this or any other incident.”
Councillor Ian Bowyer, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “The meeting was a chance for us all to reiterate our support for local Polish people and for people from every background in Plymouth, to say loud and clear that we will not tolerate hate crime or incidents of any sort in Plymouth. We utterly condemn this vicious racist attack and we stand together with our diverse communities in Plymouth.
“I was very shocked and saddened to hear of this incident of hate in Plymouth against this family of Polish origin. My thoughts are with this family and I hope the perpetrators are brought to justice as soon as possible. I also want to reiterate our commitment to work with housing providers, police and other partners to stamp out hate crime and incidents in Plymouth. It is everyone’s responsibility as an individual and as part of the community to take a stand against hate.
“We want to build on Plymouth’s reputation as a diverse and welcoming city and it is essential that all our residents and visitors can feel safe. I call on everyone in Plymouth to make our diverse communities feel welcome. Hate crime whether attacks, bullying harassment, graffiti, anti-social behaviour, name calling or vandalism will not be tolerated.
“We would urge anyone who feels they have been a victim of hate incidents or discrimination because of their race, faith or belief, disability, sexual orientation, or if they are transgender, to report it immediately.”
Reporting to Plymouth City Council’s Social Inclusion Unit – If anyone is a victim of a hate incident or witnesses one, contact our Social Inclusion Unit on 01752 304321 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
More information on reporting incidents is available on our website herehttp://www.plymouth.gov.uk/homepage/communityandliving/socialinclusion/hatecrime.htm
Reporting to Police – alternatively you can report incidents to Devon and Cornwall Police as follows:
SMS/Text: 999 – if you are Deaf/hard of hearing or speech impaired
SMS/Text: 67101 – if you are Deaf/hard of hearing or speech impaired
To make a Third Party Report: http://www.report-it.org.uk/report_a_hate_crime