Leading Disability Rights campaigner, Stephen Brookes syasthat Lancashire is leading the way in dealing with hate crime. He noted that innovative work with “Third Party Reporting Centres,” such as Disability Equaliy NW, means thatLancashire Constabulary are performing particularly well in comparison to their counterparts across the country
Stephen was speaking at a Disability Hate Crime Conference that was facilitated by Preston-based charity, Disability Equality (nw) last month. The conference was organised to raise awareness of hate crime particularly as disability hate crime is still under-reported despite the best efforts of the police, campaigners and disability organisations.
He said, ‘We still need to create confidence in reporting hostility and hate crimes towards disabled people but I am very encouraged at the work being undertaken in Preston and other parts of Lancashire. The police have developed a pro-active approach to developing alternative ways that people can report hate crime and Disability Equality was one of the first ‘third-party reporting centres* in England’ from which there has been much to learn’.
Detective Chief Superintendent, Sue Clark and Hate Crime Lead for Lancashire Constabulary said, ‘We are very fortunate have the support and specialisms that third sector organisations like Disability Equality provide to victims. What starts off as minor incidents of hostility or harassment can all too often escalate into serious hate crimes towards disabled people, that can have dire consequences.’
The conference, held at Plungington Community Centre, attracted around 60 disabled people, carers, disability organisations and hate crime victims. There were lots of activities and role play involving disabled people as a varied way of getting the disability hate crime awareness message across.
Disability Equality Chief Executive, Melanie Close said, ‘Everyone in society has the right to live in safety and secure in the knowledge that help is available when needed. Far too often disabled people are seen as an ‘easy target’ by perpetrators and are equally vulnerable to falling through the support services ‘net’. It is vital that disabled people and those around them recognise disability hate crime and how to report it – that is why third party reporting centres are so important to providing an open door and welcome to anyone who is worried about hate crime’.
In an emergency call 999
Call the police on 101 or report on line via True Vision at www.report-it.org.uk
Or visit www.lancashire.police.uk for details of Third-party reporting centres
Disability Equality (nw) :
- Is the first user-led Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) in England to be a third party reporting centre* for hate crime
- Is the first Third party reporting centre* in Lancashire to be awarded a “Charter mark”
- Has 21 years’ experience of campaigning, supporting and furthering the rights of disabled people.
- Provides services such as; Independent Living Services, Disability Hate Crime, Managed Accounts, Information and Advice drop-ins, Digital Inclusion and Disability Awareness Training and are based at 103 Church Street Preston PR1 3BS. disability-equality.org.uk
Registered Charity no: 1114622 Registered Company no. 5506903
*What is a Third Party Reporting Centre?
In some cases victims or witnesses of a hate crime do not feel comfortable reporting the matter directly to the police and may be happier reporting it to someone they are familiar with.
To ensure all victims or witnesses are able to report hate crimes, Lancashire Police works in partnership with organisations who perform the role Third Party Reporting Centres. Staff within Third Party Reporting Centres have been trained to assist a victim or witness in submitting a report to the police and can make sure a report on the victim or witnesses behalf
Third party reporting centres work together with Lancashire Constabulary and the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner (OPCC) to:
- manage community expectations regarding response to Hate Crime /Incident reports
- increase understanding of what constitutes hate crime / hostility / prejudice
- raise awareness of hate crime and support communities to report
Stephen Brookes is the Co-ordinator of the Disability Hate Crime Network, Disability Rights UK Ambassador and a member of the Lancashire CPS Scrutiny Panel. He has a long association with Disability Equality and Lancashire police to further the rights of disabled people.
What is the “Charter mark”?
To be awarded a Charter mark Third party reporting centre must:
- Provide respect and care for victims and provide support for and signposting to other services
- Report all incidents to the Police via “True Vision” even if anonymously
- Provide a safe, confidential and accessible space to report
- Act as a local contact point for Lancashire Constabulary’s Hate Crime Officers
- Record standardised data and provide monthly returns
- Undertake training and cascade it to colleagues
- Attend network events
- Advertise and promote the Lancashire Hate Crime network and attend network events as appropriate