We feel it’s really important to raise awareness and tackle hate crime, which can happen to anyone, any time, simply because others take a disliking to their identity. Hate crime isn’t political correctness gone mad, as some people think it is, it has a devastating impact on victims. Hate crime can leave victims isolated, vulnerable and even suicidal, after being threatened, attacked or abused, often repeatedly, because of their disability, race, religion, gender identity or sexuality.
Although we have seen a rise in people reporting hate crime, we know that it remains under reported. Throughout the week we will be engaging with members of the public across the county educating them about hate crimes and getting them to sign our pledge boards to put a stop to hate crime.
Students across the county will be taught about hate crime as the force is sending an innovative video to every secondary, middle and upper school in Bedfordshire to stream to their pupils during the week.
The force’s Community Cohesion Champions, who are aged between 13 and 15-years-old, have made the film entitled #WeHateHateCrime, in association with Bedfordshire Police, education charity the Anne Frank Trust and True Vision, the online reporting tool for hate crime. It has been created to raise awareness of what is hate crime, how it affects victims and how to report it. It's made by young people, for young people.
We asked our champions to help us make the film for their peers on the topic of tackling hate crime. The champions planned, scripted and appeared as actors in the film with dramatisations which are relatable to young people.
Schools can incorporate the video into their classroom learning to encourage discussions around how hate crime impacts victims and who can report and where they can report any hate crimes, either as a victim or witness.
To kick off the national week of action the force, along with partner agencies, organised a conference at the University of Bedfordshire, in Bedford, on Saturday (13 October). It was aimed at anyone wishing to learn more about hate crime and is entitled Take a Stand #NoPlaceForHate.
If you or anyone you know has been affected by hate crime contact Bedfordshire Police on 101 or contact True Vision online at report-it.org.uk or via the Third Party Reporting Centres which can be found on our website. Don't ever suffer in silence.
You can also keep up with what we are doing to tackle hate crime by following @hatecrimeteam on Twitter.
Hate Crime Sergeant