South Yorkshire Police’s lead hate crime detective is appealing to victimised members of the LGBT community in a bid to understand the true extent of hate crime across the county.
Detective Chief Inspector Melanie Palin said hate crimes often leave long-lasting emotional and psychological impacts on the victim but many go unreported for a range of reasons.
As part of a strategy to break down the barriers to reporting hate crimes, the force is marking to LGBT history month by explaining the importance of victims coming forward.
A hate crime can be anything from assault, to name-calling, harassment and blackmail, and is any crime or incident which is perceived by a person to be because of hostility or prejudice based on religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity or transgender identity.
Ms Palin said: “To help us understand the true extent of hate crime in relation to members of the LGBT community we want to encourage people to report any incidents to us.
“It is only when an incident has been reported that we are we then able to fully investigate the matter and put the appropriate measures in place to continue to try and tackle these unacceptable crimes.
“Hate crime incidents can occur in everyday situations, from shopping, to eating out and using public transport, and can have long lasting emotional and psychological impact on a victim.
“We realise that many people may have experienced some form of homophobia or transphobia in their lives and won’t have reported it to anyone.
“We also appreciate that many people have concerns about reporting such incidents for fear of further incidents occurring or worrying that they could be ‘outed.’
“However, I would like to reassure people that any complaint made to us will be taken extremely seriously and treated with the utmost respect.
“The police do not tolerate hate crime and you shouldn’t have to either. Members of the LGBT community should not feel as though they can’t hold hands in public or feel as if they won’t be taken seriously when they report an incident to us.
“Reports of hate crimes and hate incidents will be investigated thoroughly, with support provided from our officers and appropriate partner agencies.”
To report a hate crime that has already happened, call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or do so online at southyorks.police.uk/reportcrime
Hate crime incidents can also be reported through a number of third party reporting centres including the Citizens Advice Bureau. A third party reporting centre can report an incident to police on the victim’s behalf and can also offer advice and support following an incident.
Ms Palin will be taking part in a hate crime web chat on Thursday evening (18 February) from 7pm, via southyorks.police.co.uk/webchat