Police and Police and Crime Commissioner Support International Day of Persons with Disabilities (2 Dec 2014)

West Yorkshire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire are supporting the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Wednesday, 3 December, as they continue to raise awareness of what constitutes a hate crime and encourage reporting.

A joint hate crime campaign was launched in October to raise awareness of the five strands of hate crime - race, sexual orientation, religion, disability and gender identity.

This month, to coincide with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the campaign will be focusing on disability hate crime. Disability hate crime is any criminal offence motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person's disability or perceived disability.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Andy Battle said: "A key part of our hate crime campaign is encouraging victims and witnesses to report incidents and it is important, particularly for those with physical and mental disabilities, that we remove any barriers that may prevent them from doing so. We have produced information on what constitutes a hate incident or hate crime and how it can be reported in a number of forms, including a subtitled video and Easy Read leaflets.

"Hate crime of any kind is not acceptable and if people are experiencing or witnessing this kind of behaviour, we want to hear about it."

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner said: "We all have a responsibility to challenge the attitudes and behaviours that foster hatred.

"Tackling hate crime, which includes disability hate crime, is a key priority in the Police and Crime Plan.

"I have both held my own and supported disability hate crime events and I have met with practitioners from across the county to talk about what more can be done to tackle disability hate crime and support victims, in particular I have also met with young people who are victims of disability hate crime to discuss the safer places scheme and have been pleased to support this and other specific disability hate crime schemes through my Safer Communities Fund.

"Even if what's happened isn't a criminal offence the police still need to know so they can ensure support and advice is offered to those involved and action is taken where appropriate, I want to ask individuals and communities to come forward and report this behaviour to West Yorkshire Police ''Report it, Sort it, Say No to Hate."

Anyone with information about a hate incident is asked to report it either by calling 999 in an emergency or 101 in a non-emergency or in person at a police station. West Yorkshire Police has also launched a new online hate incident reporting form which is available via the following link: www.westyorkshire.police.uk/hatecrime

For deaf or speech impaired people there is a textphone service via 07786 200200 or text relay on 18001 101.

Alternatively, there are independent Hate Incident Reporting Centres (HIRCs) across West Yorkshire for anyone who does not want to speak directly to the police. To find your nearest centre visit the West Yorkshire Police website.

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