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13 July 2017 

Targeted and subjected to abuse simply because they were disabled

 

To celebrate Disability Awareness Day on Sunday (16 July) a Bedfordshire Police officer has written a blog about his experience in dealing with disability hate crime, in an effort to encourage people to have the confidence to come forward and report such crimes.

PC Ryan Chandhar dealt with a family living with disabilities who for a number of years were subjected to harassment and verbal abuse on a regular basis within their neighbourhood. This continuous behaviour prevented the family from carrying out their daily routine as they began to feel isolated.

Those involved with the harassment even stopped the family accessing their car by blocking their disabled parking spot. This family was being targeted and subjected to abuse simply because they were disabled.

As a result of this on-going behaviour members of the family were anxious to leave their home, in fear of what their neighbours might do.

Reluctant and scared to report the hate crime, a family member came forward on their behalf to inform Bedfordshire Police of the harassment they had suffered. PC Chandhar was assigned to the case and by offering encouragement and support helped the victims to speak out, increasing their trust in the police.

He referred the case to Luton’s Priority Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) team, in order to explore what actions could be taken to improve the circumstances for the family. The proactive policing and partnership work involved within this case changed the lives of the victims in a very positive way.

Laura Chalmers of Luton’s Priority ASB team said: “This case shows the positive outcomes that can be achieved from reporting incidents. We made referrals to various agencies to ensure the family received the appropriate support and they were very grateful for the help they received through this difficult time. Victims of hate crime may not always want a police investigation to take place, but there are a number of other agencies which can support them.”

Sergeant James Hart, hate crime lead, added: “This is a great example of how information sharing and partnership working can achieve great results. We understand victims sometimes do not wish to take formal action or they may be reluctant to report due to limited evidence. However, I hope this case encourages people to report hate crime as it demonstrates the various ways it can be tackled and there is support available which can have a positive impact on their lives.”

Read the blog post.

Hate crime can be reported to police on 101, online to True Vision or via the Third Party Reporting Centres.