Driving down hate crime
Basingstoke Hate Crime Working Group, made up of agencies including Citizens Advice Basingstoke, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Hampshire Constabulary, is working to stamp out such incidents, in which people are targeted because of things such as disability, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, religion or any other perceived difference.
As part of this drive the group is working with taxi drivers, a group who work all around the borough and around the clock, to explain what a hate crime is and how they can report it.
Incidents don’t always include physical violence and can include offensive language and harassment. They can have a devastating effect on the victim.
PC James Newson said: “Taxi drivers are a unique group of individuals who spend their working lives out and about in the town. As well as encountering so many different people, they are also constantly observing what’s happening on the streets at all hours of the day and night.
“Unfortunately, some of them may also experience verbal and physical abuse either personally or witness it happening as they go about their work.
“If someone targets another person because of their disability, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, religion or any other perceived difference, that’s a hate crime and we would always encourage that it is reported. Our officers and staff are trained to deal with hate crime sensitively and professionally. Reporting hate crime could stop it happening to you again – or happening to someone else.”
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Community Safety Cllr Simon Bound said: “It is not acceptable to be targeted because of who you, your family or friends are and help is available.
“With the help of taxi drivers in the borough, we can tackle those responsible for hate crime and support victims affected by prejudice or violence.”
Graham Hatcher, Chief Executive Officer of Citizens Advice Basingstoke and Tadley, said: “The impact Hate Crime has on individuals can be devastating, for example Fiona Pilkington killed herself and her disabled daughter. It can impact someone’s work or stop them doing things that they enjoy; locally a 21-year-old is now afraid to go outside to visit his favourite shop and has become a recluse.
“Hate crime is damaging our community and can have serious consequences for those committing this crime. For example, Liam Stacey received 56 days in prison for a racist tweet regarding Fabrice Muamba and Stan Collymore.
“We understand people’s reluctance to report hate crime but unless they do, it will only get worse. Citizens Advice Basingstoke, and, Tadley are both third party hate crime reporting sites; a place in the community to report this crime in confidence and with anonymity.”
The Hate Crime Working Group was established to encourage and support a wide range of organisations and residents of the Borough of Basingstoke and Deane to work together to tackle Hate Crime and create a safer environment for everyone.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the local Hate Crime Working Group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to report hate crime
Contact Hampshire Constabulary by dialing 101.
Always dial 999 if there is a crime happening or there is an immediate threat to life.
You can also report crime online at www.hampshire.police.uk
Report in person at the Basingstoke Police Investigation Centre. RG22 4BS.
Citizens Advice Basingstoke and Tadley are local independent charities that provide confidential help and advice and are also a third party hate crime reporting centres.
Call 03444 111306