A county-wide survey has launched this week with the aim to find out more about hate crimes that take place in Cumbria and if those with protected characteristics have faced more abuse following Brexit and COVID-19.
A hate crime is defined by a crime that is motivated by prejudice based on protected characteristics which include race, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity.
In terms of reported hate crime, between 1 February 2020 and 31 January 2021, Cumbria has seen:
- Homophobic-based crimes reduced by 7% (10 less crimes recorded).
- Race-based crimes increased by 8.1% (32 more crimes recorded).
- Religion-based crimes increased by 5% (2 more crimes recorded).
- Transphobic-based crimes increased by 56.3% (9 more crimes recorded).
- Disability-based crimes increased by 6.9% (7 more crimes recorded).
The survey is being conducted by Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall. The aim of the survey is to develop more of an understanding of hate-fueled crimes in the county, why these crimes go under-reported, if Brexit and COVID-19 have had a negative effect of crime, and identify if there is a gap in services to help victims cope and recover. To take part in the survey visit Survey Monkey.
Speaking on the survey, PCC Peter McCall, said: “As a society, we are slowly becoming more accepting but unfortunately too many people still experience hateful language or physical abuse due to their race, religion, sexuality and other characteristics.
“It’s totally unacceptable and it will not be tolerated in Cumbria but I know that this type of crime goes unreported and I want to learn why, and how the Police and the public can work together to stop hate crime and provide a safe space for victims to cope and recover.
“I would urge anyone who has ever experienced a hate crime to take this survey and let me know about your experiences so that we can learn how to help prevent, reduce and support them.
“I would also urge them to report any hate crime to the Police to 101 or 999 in an emergency – every piece of information and evidence helps.
“No one should have to live their lives in fear of being targeted just for being who they are – let’s work together to put a stop to hate crime and make Cumbria a safer place for everyone.”
Detective Chief Inspector Matt Scott said: “As a force we welcome this survey.
“The results will help us gain a greater understanding of people’s experience and how we can help prevent, reduce and support victims.
“There is absolutely no excuse for any form of hate crime and it will not be tolerated.
“We take all hate crime reports seriously and encourage those that have been a victim or have witnessed this type of crime to get in touch with police and report it.
“All reports are taken seriously and are duly investigated by officers.
“We know that contacting us may feel daunting, we recognise this.
“If you do not feel you are able to ring us for any reason please to talk to someone you trust, or contact Victim Support, Cumbria Together or report a crime anonymously through the True Vision website.
“We also have reporting centres across Cumbria in which you can report a hate crime or incident at a safe and neutral location.
“Trained staff are based at the centres to assist people with the completion of the reporting forms or alternatively you can pick up a form which come with a pre-paid envelope.”