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Hate crime reporting scheme to be extended

A scheme piloted in Fenland to encourage victims and witnesses of hate crimes to report any incidents is set to be extended across the county.

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Cambridgeshire Constabulary want to see third party reporting centres expanded into other areas following the Fenland trial.

About 20 centres were set up in the district last year to give people extra ways of reporting incidents as an alternative to going directly to the police.

The issue was highlighted last month when a strongly worded motion condemning racism, xenophobia and hate crimes was passed unanimously at Fenland District Council's full meeting of on July 21.

The motion was tabled after two councillors had been approached by local residents wanting the council to send out a strong message.

This week Inspector Dean Wiffin, Cambridgeshire Constabulary's lead on hate crime, said: "We need to expand third party reporting across the whole county. Fenland has been used as a pilot; elsewhere the opportunities for reporting are less well known and we need to improve on that.

"Like the rest of the country, historically we've experienced under-reporting of these crimes. I'm really keen to stress that we want to work with anyone affected so that they feel confident to come forward. We want to help people understand the reporting process and help them through it.

"The Government has just come out with an 'Action Against Hate' plan that identifies five key areas for increasing awareness, encouraging reporting and improving support for victims. We will align ourselves with those priorities."

A "hate crime" is any incident perceived as being motivated by prejudice or hate connected with the victim's race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. It may include verbal abuse, physical assault, harassment and damage to property.

The motion passed at Fenland District Council's full meeting on July 21 read: "We are proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society. Racism, xenophobia and hate crimes have no place in our country.

"Fenland District Council condemns racism, xenophobia and hate crimes unequivocally. We will not allow hate to become acceptable.

"Fenland District Council will work to ensure local bodies and programmes have the support and resources needed to fight and prevent racism and xenophobia.

"We reassure all people living in Fenland that they are valued members of our community."

Proposed by Councillor David Mason and seconded by Cllr Gavin Booth, it gained full cross-party support.

  • To report any hate crime, call 101 (or 999 in an emergency) or visit www.report-it.org.uk/home.
  • Third party reporting centres in Fenland include FDC's New Vision Fitness leisure centres and one-stop shops and town council and Circle Roddons offices. Other centres in Wisbech include the Oasis and Rosmini centres, the Ferry Project, Octavia View, the Queen Mary Centre, and the Citizens Advice Bureau. Those in March include FACET and Young People March.
  • Non-urgent queries can also be emailed to thirdpartyreporting@cambs.pnn.police.uk

Article added August 19, 2016