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Residents urged to get involved with hate crime awareness week

08 Feb 2016 11:00 AM

Hate crime week [View Full Size]

Northumbria Police is inviting residents across Sunderland and South Tyneside to get involved with Hate Crime Awareness Week by joining them on Twitter.

Next week is Hate Crime Awareness Week - throughout the week activity will be taking place to raise awareness of what hate crime is, the support that is available for victims and what police do to tackle the issue.

Throughout the week police along with partners will be taking part in various events talking to people about hate crime and highlighting the work that is being done. In both Sunderland and South Tyneside, community engagements officers will host various sessions with students, cadets and members of the Youth Parliaments.

Representatives from community groups will also take part in Northumbria Police's Community Opportunity scheme - community opportunity gives members of the public the chance to see first hand what police are doing to tackle the issues that affect them the most.

And, to support the activity one of Southern Area Command's Community Engagement Officer's will be taking to Twitter throughout the week to answer questions on the subject.

Any crime that sees a person targeted because of their characteristics including race, religion, gender, sexuality or disability is classed as a hate crime.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, is backing the week long initiative, she said: "I give my 100 per cent full support to Hate Crime Awareness Week. There’s no place in our society for intolerance and prejudice and it will certainly not be tolerated by Northumbria Police.

 "This week is all about engaging with all members of the public to raise awareness and highlight all the support that is on offer across our region.

"It is really important that victims of every community have the confidence to report hate crimes, if not to the police, to one of the partner agencies.

"My message to anyone suffering any form of prejudice or discrimination is to speak up. Please - do not suffer alone – help is at hand."

T/Superintendent Sarah Pitt said: "It is vitally important we raise awareness of what hate crime is and what support is available for victims. People may not realise they are a victim of hate crime and think they just have to put up with the way they are targeted and I want to assure them that is not the case. We are committed to stopping hate crime and stopping people being targeted by criminals because of who they are - it is simply not acceptable and we will not tolerate hate crime in any form.

"We recognise for a variety reasons people may not always feel comfortable coming forward and reporting a hate crime to police and we work closely with our partner agencies, such as our local authorities, to ensure there are measures in place to allow victims to speak to someone other than police. However, I would like to stress if victims do report crimes to police we will always listen to them and deal with them sensitively."

To submit a question during Hate Crime Awareness Week simply tweet @NPSENGTEAM and Community Engagement Team will respond.

Community Engagement Officer Richie Miles said: "We're looking forward to taking questions from our local community about hate crime and I would urge people to get involved.

"No matter what the question is we will try and help as best we can. If anyone has a question they do not want to ask publicly they can send as a direct message.

"Likewise, if members of the community who don't use social media want to ask a question they can still do so, either send us an email or we'd be more than happy to speak to them on the phone.

Use @NPSENGTEAM to send a message to the team on twitter. Or email any questions to or ring Northumbria Police on 101 and ask to speak to the Southern Community Engagement Team.

Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council and Chair of the Safer Sunderland Partnership, Councillor Harry Trueman, said: "We would support anything which raises people’s awareness of this type of criminal and anti-social behaviour, and increases their knowledge of the support and advice available to help us all to work together to prevent it.

"Reporting incidents of hate crime helps build up a picture of where and  when it is happening and who is being targeted, so we can combine our resources and support victims and assist in taking appropriate action against perpetrators.

"The City Council has a reporting number 520 5550 along with a website www.sunderland.gov.uk/hate-crime which people concerned about hate crime can also contact."  

Councillor Tracey Dixon, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: "No one should be subjected to this kind of behaviour. Abuse based on prejudice and discrimination can have a devastating impact on victims, leaving them feeling belittled and frightened. This is something we will not tolerate.

"We will continue to work with our partners to stamp out hate crime and encourage victims to report incidents so that we can provide victims with whatever support is necessary.

"By all coming together to raise awareness of hate crime, we can help to put an end to such discrimination and make our communities and stronger."

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