Taking to the pitch to tackle hate crime in sport

15 Feb 2017 13:00 PM

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Northumbria police is taking to the pitch to tackle hate crime in sport.

The force is supporting the Hadrian Cup Rugby 10's tournament that is being held on February 18th, at Percy Park Rugby Football club, North Shields.

Rugby 10s is a variant of Rugby Union, whereby teams are made up of ten players, typically five forwards and five backs. Matches are much shorter, often of two ten-minute halves.

The rules are similar to rugby sevens and whilst still having more space available than 15-a-side Rugby with three extra forwards and two added backs, the game is becoming more like 15-a-side and so is a good preparation for new players.

It's been hosted and organised by the Newcastle Ravens, who are an inclusive men's Rugby Union team who meet every Tuesday, at their home ground of Percy Park. They take part in national and local level rugby tournaments.

The tournament is being used to get the message across about Northumbria Police's hate crime campaign 'Being you is not a crime'.

All of the teams taking part in the event will be wearing Stonewall UK Rainbow Laces in a show of support for the force's campaign and to show that hate crime has no place either on or off the field.

Rainbow Laces is Stonewall’s campaign to make sport everyone’s game and address anti LGBT attitudes in sport. This follows new research from Stonewall, which shows that a significant amount of sport fans think that anti LGBT language is OK if it’s just meant as banter. The research shows that most sport fans and players do welcome and accept lesbian, gay, bi and trans teammates and fans and so the Rainbow Laces are a key way for everyone to come together to send a united positive message that LGBT people are welcome in sport and across wider society.

Newcastle Falcons team captain Will Welch will be lending his support on the day and a number of officers and staff from the force will be there cheering on the players and speaking to players and fans.

Dedicated LGBT Liaison and Community Engagement officers (trained in hate crime and issues affecting the community) will be there on the day, alongside representatives from the LGBT Association. They will all be present to take part and show united support. The Police Cadets will be helping organise the day.

Chief Inspector Steve Hails said: "We are delighted to be involved with this fantastic event. Equality and inclusivity are key components of modern day policing and it's so important that we show our support for projects like this.

"The tournament is all about inclusivity and because the teams taking part are inclusive, people can be free to be themselves as individuals and express themselves as they wish. Sport doesn't discriminate and this ties in perfectly in with our hate crime campaign and the work we are doing across the whole force.

"Our campaign 'Being you is not a crime, targeting you is' was launched in 2013 with aim of raising awareness around what hate crime is, the work that police and partners do to tackle it and the support that is out there for people who have experienced hate crime. It's been really well received by the public and we have had a lot of fantastic support for it.

"There is no place for hate crime on the rugby pitch, on any pitch, or anywhere and we are committed to tackling it. Our officers, staff and cadets are really looking forward to the day and would urge as many people as possible to come along and get involved."

James McKane, Chair of The Newcastle Ravens said;
"it is great to be working with Northumbria Police on this year's Hadrian cup. Although the tournament is an inclusive event, the Club is very much LGBT inclusive. We all feel passionate about supporting this year's campaigns: Being you is not a crime and No homophobia in sport."

Robbie de Santos, Head of Campaigns at Stonewall, said: ‘There are still people who think it’s acceptable to discriminate against LGBT people in sport, something we have to work together to stop.’

‘Stonewall works with sports clubs at all levels to show that supporting diversity, in all its forms, is the easiest way to build a more supportive and high-performing team and a strong, loyal following.

‘The good news is that anyone involved in sport can be part of creating a more welcoming environment for LGBT people.’

A crime is considered to be a hate crime if someone has been targeted because of who they are - these include: race, faith, religion, disability, gender identity, age and sexual orientation.

Anyone can report a hate crime – victims, families, carers or someone unrelated to a victim who has been witness. If you wish to report a hate crime call 101. Or you don't need to speak directly to the police you can report to us online using our online 101 form, in confidence if you wish. Alternatively you can use the national True vision online hate crime reporting form or use a local "third party reporting scheme".

Or tell someone you trust and ask them to report on your behalf. Anybody can report a hate crime, so if you've witnessed something we also urge you to contact us*****

Or come along on the day and talk to your LGBT liaison officers and community engagement officers who are dedicated to supporting victims of hate crime.

The Hadrian cup rugby tens tournament takes place at Percy Park Rugby Football Club, Preston Avenue, North Shields, Tyne and Wear NE30 2BE on Saturday 18th February between 11am and 3pm.

For more information visit:

For info & advice re reporting hate crime, including specific info to access 3rd party reporting schemes in your area within our force, or the national True Vision Hate Crime reporting site use:

Report Hate Crime - Hate Crime - Northumbria Police

For info regarding types of Hate Crime use:

Types of Hate Crime - Hate Crime - Northumbria Police