Council’s Cabinet to raise awareness of hate crime

Date: 08/04/2014
Ref: PR 4517

​Wakefield Council's key decision makers are to discuss proposals for improving the response to hate crime in the district.

A report to the Council's Cabinet on April 15 recommends ways to help local people be more aware of what hate crimes are and the different ways it can be reported.

Findings in the report from the Council's Communities and Safety Overview and Scrutiny Committee, showed that people often suffer in silence because they do not realise they have been a target of hate crime, which is often associated with violent extremism rather than persistent, low level anti-social behaviour.

Chair of the Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Albert Manifield, said: "It is important that hate incidents are recognised and tackled at the earliest opportunity to avoid escalation into more serious issues and reduce the impact on victims' lives. Our recommendations aim to help us all understand hate crime better so that we can provide support for victims."

Wakefield Council's Cabinet member for Environment and Communities, Cllr Maureen Cummings, said: "The Scrutiny Committee has done a good job in looking at how hate crime is tackled in the district and has provided very useful information on how to improve services.

"The recommendations of the Committee will ensure that we can help local residents have a better understanding of what hate crime is and give them more confidence to report it. We will not have minority groups being targeted and will do everything we can to keep vulnerable adults and children in the district safe from harm."

"We want to ensure that victims of hate crime are treated seriously by the Wakefield District Partnership and give them the support and help they need."

The Scrutiny Committee's report found hate crime is not a major problem in Wakefield, with 323 recorded incidents last year but because of the lack of awareness it is believed it is under-reported.

The Council is already contributing £5,000 a year to fund a helpline but there is still limited knowledge of the various reporting methods among the general public and the minority groups such as the Disabled People's Partnership.

Hate crimes include actions such as intimidation, attacks on people and property, malicious complaints and harassment, verbal abuse or bullying. A hate crime may not be a criminal offence but it is perceived to be motivated by a person's race, religion, disability gender identity or sexual orientation.