Action taken to tackle hate crime across North Herts

Officers at a previous hate crime prevention event in Royston

Officers at the hate crime prevention event in Royston yesterday (August 16) - Credit: Herts police

This week, specialist police officers are hitting the streets of Stevenage and North Herts in a bid to raise awareness of hate crime, and what can be done to tackle and prevent it.

This comes after two teenage girls were attacked and robbed in Hitchin, in what is believed to be a homophobic hate incident.

In response to the attack, NHDC leader Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg said: “Only three weeks ago I was celebrating with Hitchin’s LGBTQIA+ community at the first Hitchin Pride Picnic. I have been amazed to hear about how this event brought the LGBTQIA+ community together and allowed lasting friendships to be formed and for all to feel accepted and be proud.

"I am devastated to hear of the homophobic attack on two teenage girls on Friday, August 13 in Hitchin.

“We have a zero tolerance approach to hate crime and are a third party hate crime reporting centre, with trained hate crime responders.

"If you are a victim of or have witnessed a hate crime, you can report this directly to us safely and confidently without going directly to the police.”

Officers are reaching out to local communities to encourage reporting, to inform those who may be affected, and to discuss the support available to them.

By definition, a hate crime is any incident or criminal offence that is targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.

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Hate crime officer for North Herts and Stevenage, Dee Marr said: “Sadly hate crime continues to be an issue and we want people to know that we take it very seriously and have specialist support for those who have been affected by it.

“No one should be targeted because of their race, religion or sexual identity and we are committed to tackling this type of crime. We have lots of information and advice on hand and of course you can arrange a time to speak to us privately if needs be.

"Please stop by and speak to us if you would like further information. We will be happy to answer any questions you have about hate crime, local policing or services for victims.”

Neighbourhood inspector for North Herts, James Lant added: “We are also keen to enlist the help of our LGBT+ community and are looking for volunteers to become community representatives, who we can consult for advice and who can help shape our response to these issues."

Officers were in Royston yesterday as part of the week-long event, and will be at the following locations this week from 11am:

  • Today, August 17: Market Place, Hitchin
  • Wednesday, August 18: Baldock
  • Thursday, August 19: Stevenage
  • Friday, August 20: Letchworth

For more information about hate crime, including how to report it and where to get support go to www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/hertsagainsthate.

LGBT+ liaison officers can be reached by calling 101 or by contacting us online. In an emergency or if a crime is on-going, report it immediately via 999.

To contact an LGBT+ officer in your local area for non-urgent advice, ring 101 and ask to leave a message for them to contact you.

For more information on becoming a community representative, email james.lant@herts.police.uk.

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