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Today, Saturday 8 October, marks the start of this year’s National Hate Crime Awareness Week.
Throughout the next seven days, we’ll be raising awareness of different hate crime offences, how to report them and the organisations you can go to for support if you don’t want to talk to us straight away.
We continue to deal with problems at a community level and we’re becoming more effective at working with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to get better outcomes for the victims.
Our three full-time hate crime officers also support our community policing teams. They review hate crimes that have been reported to ensure that they’re progressing in the most effective way and that victims are being referred to support organisations. They also assist our officers with their investigations, train and visit our Hate Incident Reporting Centres and engage with local community groups to raise awareness of hate crimes and support networks on a regular basis.
We are also one of only 12 forces to record if hate offences were motivated by gender or sex. This can help us to understand the level of violence, abuse and intimidation against women and girls; where it’s happening, who it’s happening to and who the perpetrators are.
Between January and August 2022, a total of 3,572 hate crimes were reported to us. These varied from reported verbal attacks, to written or online communication that was deemed to be criminally offensive, to different types of assaults. Regardless of the manner of hate crimes, they’re unacceptable and we will work to get justice for these victims.
This number marks an increase of 266 reports from the previous year, but we know that hate crime is still underreported. We hope that this increase is a step in the right direction, with more victims of hate crime feeling comfortable to talk to us about their experience and, where possible, seek justice.
Essex Police’s Hate Crime Lead, Superintendent Naomi Edwards, said:
“Hate crime comes in many forms and has a devastating impact on victims and local communities.
“Sadly, we’ve seen hate crime rise by more than 8% so far this year. Hate crime is often under-reported, so it’s crucial that we continue to encourage victims to tell us when these incidents happen so that we can investigate.
“We work shoulder to shoulder with our other Essex partners, including the Crown Prosecution Service, to take a hard line against hatred committed anywhere across the county. We’re increasing the number of cases submitted for charging and we’re continuing to focus on how we can prevent hate crime, and where it does occur, to improve our response to it.
“No-one should live in fear and it’s important we do everything we can to support victims and help them feel safe, whether that’s in their own home or in public spaces.”
Whether you’ve been targeted for your disability, race, religion, sexuality, or because of your gender identity, we want to ensure that you get the support you need.
If you don’t feel comfortable with reporting hate crime to us in the first instance, you can contact Stop Hate UK. You can also visit one of our Hate Incident Reporting Centres and speak to one of our trained Hate Crime Ambassadors.
Alternatively, you can speak to Victim Support, a national charity who can signpost you to organisations who can help you. They can be reached on 08 08 16 89 111 or you can request support through their website.
If you wish to report hate crime you can submit information anonymously online via Crimestoppers, through the Essex Police website or by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.