Stop Hate Crime – Executive summary
This report contains offensive language. These are examples of hate crime that were expressed over the course of this research. This language has not been censored as it is important to understand the nature of this type of crime as it occurs.
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Hate crime is underreported in North Yorkshire and York. Simply put, unless the victim feels sufficiently threatened to call 999 it is unlikely the crime will be reported. The barriers facing victims are fourfold:
- Psychological barriers: the way that victims view their own ‘difference’ and ‘put up with’ negativity or abuse about their perceived difference
- Lack of understanding about hate crime: victims do not realise that they have been a victim of a crime unless it is ‘serious’
- Police relationships: difficulties in communicating with the police, or off-putting negative experiences with police previously
- Accessibility and awareness of reporting mechanisms, especially for ‘lower level’ offences, i.e. those that do not seem sufficiently threatening or serious enough to warrant calling 999
These barriers (both real and perceived) have negative effects on hate crime reporting: victims choose not to, or feel unable to report either to the police or other agencies. Some of these can be overcome: for example by improving expectations of policing by developing stronger relationships with diverse communities.
In addition, a root and branch review of existing contact/reporting mechanisms and how they are marketed is needed as the majority are unknown (such 4
as 3rd party reporting centres, Stop Hate UK, Supporting Victims) or unavailable to some users (due to disability or language barriers).
There is an overall sense that diverse communities ‘put up with’ hate crime, unless it is very serious, for example involves violence. Some people are victims of hate crime on a daily or weekly basis in North Yorkshire and do not want to maintain a constant communication with the police as this reinforces feelings of victimisation.
Tackling hate crime requires a multi-agency approach:
- The police must provide a clear definition of ‘hate’ and train staff thoroughly in recognising diversity, being able to react appropriately to people with disabilities or specific needs
- Police must work with partners in local councils to develop a strengthened response to hate crime in ‘flash point’ areas, such as in the Night Time Economy (NTE) or on public transport
- A ‘push / pull’ strategy is needed. On the one hand, ensuring that services, education and encouragement are targeted at potential victims to ‘push’ them to report: on the other, developing a more proactive approach on the part of the police and partners to ‘pull’ people into services