Gwent Police pledge to tackle hate crime rise
2:52pm Monday 14th October 2013 in News
HATE crimes reported to Gwent Police are on the rise – but the officer leading the force’s response to such offences believes they remain “incredibly under-reported.”
Superintendent Mark Warrender said the reporting increase is evidence the message is “getting through to people who maybe haven’t realised previously that what they are tolerating is a crime and they can receive support for that”.
He added that such reports “are still low in numbers in reality” particularly for certain groups.
“For instance, disability hate crime is very under-reported for reasons including that some people, such as those with a learning disability, may not have the capacity to come forward themselves,” said Supt Warrender.
“In this case, we would encourage individuals or groups to report it on their behalf.”
Figures issued by Gwent Police to mark National Hate Crime Awareness Week show that overall in 2012/13 there were 240 hate crimes recorded, and halfway through 2013/14 there have been 140.
Racial incidents make up the majority of such crimes, with 189 last year, and 106 so far this year.
Homophobic incidents come next, with 33 last year, and 16 to date this year.
Hate crimes that appear to be getting more common, or at least are being reported more often, involve religion and disability, though numbers are low.
During 2012/13, there were just four recorded religious incidents, but there have been eight in the first half of 2013/14.
And there were 11 incidents of disability hate crime last year, and nine so far this year.
Gwent Police has pledged the highest level commitment to dealing with hate crime and, with other Welsh forces, to develop a zero tolerance approach.
The key awareness week message is that these offences can destroy lives, instil fear and damage communities and neighbourhoods, and if not tackled, can isolate individual victims and vulnerable groups.
“We have worked hard over the last few years to put things in place to make Gwent Police more accessible to meets the needs of all members of the community,” said Supt Warrender.
“We hope to get the message out to members of the community that they do not have to put up with abusive behaviour.
“Individual incidents are often perceived by victims as a small thing, but if they keep happening they can have a massive effect.
“That is what victims tell me and my message is, don’t ignore it.
“You don’t have to put up with it, and we will support you through it.”
Hate crime can be reported by calling 101 or visiting report-it.gov
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