National Hate Crime Awareness Week last month coincided with Home Office figures showing a 29% rise in reported incidents since June across England and Wales, writes Hardyal Dhindsa who is Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire.
Some people will be shocked by this increase, some will say that it shows that more people have confidence in the system to report hate crime and some say it reflects more accurate recording. Whatever the reason, it’s how we tackle it that matters now.
In Derbyshire the number of hate incidents and crimes have remained broadly stable. In the 12 months ending 31 March 2018, North East Derbyshire saw the lowest number of hate crimes recorded (18) by the police than in any other district. This is positive, but every incident of hate is one too many. And sadly, two incidents of hate crime are recorded every day in Derbyshire.
Behind every incident is a victim who can take many, many years to recover from their experiences. Some may never fully recover.
As the national (Hate Crime) lead for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, I was pleased to see our solidarity against hate crime as part of NHCAW. My #No2Hate campaign was trending on Twitter, widely shared over Facebook and splashed across other digital channels.
Every day we turned our attention to a different type of hatred, and every day we saw huge support. Most of all, we demonstrated that when we stand together against intolerance, hatred and prejudice, we squeeze out derision and separation.
The kind of attitudes that fuel violence and hate on our streets and in our classrooms can only persist if society reserves a place for them. This must be reinforced in our classrooms, nurseries, schools, youth centres and of course the family home. When our children become adults we need them to show values of respect, appreciation and acceptance.
Nobody expects to be able to eradicate hate crime overnight but we are doing everything we can to ensure this crime is given the full attention it deserves.
Most of all, we will stand by our values and celebrate difference.