Hate Crime

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Former Apprentice contestant Sanjay Sood-Smith, as well as the mother of murder victim Sophie Lancaster, will talk about their experiences at the launch of Manchester’s hate crime awareness week.

Sylvia Lancaster from Lancashire, who was given an OBE last year for her work raising awareness of hate crimes against members of alternative sub cultures following the attack on her daughter, will speak at the event organised by Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Police and other organisations.

sophie lancaster

Later in the week, children from Pike Fold Primary in Blackley will learn about the importance of respecting people who are different from them when the school hosts one of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation’s training sessions.

Mrs Lancaster will be joined at the launch by Sanjay Sood-Smith, who appeared on BBC’s The Apprentice last year and has spoken about being the victim of homophobic hate crime when he lived in Manchester as a student.

They will be among other groups and individuals talking about their experiences of hate crime at the event, held at Afflecks Palace in Manchester city centre – one of the latest third party reporting centres to be set up in the city.
Lee Mackintosh from LGF Village Angels and Sylvia Lancaster
The centres are safe and neutral locations within the city’s communities where victims who have been targeted because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or disability can report incidents to trained staff who are able to provide support as well as passing on details to the police.

A total of 29 agencies across the city have now agreed to meet a set of standards drawn up by the City Council and GMP, stating they must provide staff with ongoing training about hate crime, provide a safe and confidential environment for people to report incidents, and advise victims about other services available.

Greater Manchester Police is the first force in the country to recognise hate crimes against members of alternative hate crimes such as goths, and Afflecks Palace will now be a safe place where victims can report these crimes.

Managers of these centres have been praised for their work in encouraging victims of hate crime to come forward.

Meanwhile, dozens of residents’ groups across the city will hold events throughout hate crime awareness week to help their neighbours understand the issue.

The events, which have been funded by grants provided by the City Council and supported by GMP and the Police and Crime Commissioner, include:

The Nigerian Women’s Group will hold an event and quiz to explore what a hate crime is and how to get support, at the Whalley Range Methodist Hall

The Miners Community Arts and Music Centre in Moston will hold an exhibition about how artists interpret hate crime
The Manchester Muslim Writers group will hold an anti-Islamophobia event to raise awareness of hate crime through creative writing and poetry at Chorlton Library

Wythenshawe Community Media will hold radio events and discussions throughout the week
The LGBT Centre in Sidney Street, Ardwick, will hold an open day exploring what hate crime is and how it can be dealt with

The Mancunian Way charity will hold sessions across the city in which young people will create a film looking at the issues.
The council, along with GMP and the Crown Prosecution Service, held the first hate crime awareness week in 2012, but organisers have begun working with a larger number of groups across the city since then.

Transport for Greater Manchester will also be placing adverts around the region’s public transport network as part of the campaign, reminding public transport users that hate crime is not acceptable.

Councillor Bernard Priest, executive member for neighbourhood services, said: “Hate crime can take many forms and anyone can be a victim, but it is never acceptable and has no place in our diverse and thriving city.

“It’s vital that we continue working closely with residents by increasing the number of third party reporting centres, where people can report incidents in a safe and neutral setting, as well as ensuring the service provided at these centres is the best it can be.

“We also need to know the full picture of what’s going on, so we’re continuing to work with a larger number of communities across the city to make sure people report any hate crimes.”

Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said: “Hate crime devastates lives. Tackling anti-Semitism and Islamophobia is rightly high on the agenda right now, but all types of hate crime are equally despicable and destructive.

“Across Greater Manchester, police and other organisations have been working extremely hard to raise awareness of the issue, and I urge victims to come forward and report incidents with the confidence that they will be listened to and taken seriously.

“Celebrating diversity is a sign of a decent, tolerant society; hatred of people’s differences is ignorant and perverse. Such attitudes are highly damaging to individuals and our communities as a whole. Let’s keep talking about it, keep reporting it, and together we can send a message that such attitudes have no place in our cities and towns.”

Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, GMP’s lead on hate crime, said: “This week presents a great opportunity for us to raise awareness of what hate crime is, and the different ways of reporting it.

“I want the message to get through really clearly that we will not tolerate any offence of this kind, whether it is motivated by a victim’s alternative sub-culture, disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity.

“We need to continue to do more to encourage reporting from all communities, and we are currently doing a lot of work to raise awareness of our third party reporting centres, which people can attend if they would rather not go to a police station.

“Hate crime undermines the energy and richness that is an essential part of life in Greater Manchester, and I would ask anyone who suffers a crime motivated by hate to come forward, as all reports will be thoroughly investigated.”

portrait Nazir Afzal CPS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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