Norfolk police and Norfolk County Council join forces to tackle hate crime in Norfolk

Police and council chiefs are joining forces to tackle the growing problem of hate crime in Norfolk as part of a new initiative being launched today.

Hate Free Norfolk aims to stamp out hate crime by telling people what it is, the serious impact this prejudice-related crime can have on people's lives and urge them to report it.

Hate crime, committed against a person or property, stems from prejudice or hostility towards the victim's disability, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation, transgender identity or age.

Last year there were 1,121 hate incidents and crimes in Norfolk, compared to 1,003 in 2010 – an rise of 11pc – but Norfolk police believe this type of crime is under-reported so the actual figure is a lot higher.

As part of Hate Free Norfolk – a �45,000 scheme funded by the County Strategic Partnership and supported by the county council, police, NHS and district councils – people will have a dedicated hate crime website. The site at www.hatefreenorfolk.com contains scenarios based on real-life hate incidents to help people understand the impact it can have, provides further information and support and allows people to report incidents confidentially.


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Derrick Murphy, county council leader and partnership chairman, said: 'Hate crime and incidents can affect a wide number of people, but is largely unrecognised. We can all think of high-profile examples of hate crime, the Stephen Lawrence murder or the tragic case of the Pilkingtons, but it's time we recognised incidents happening in our own communities.

'Hate can be shown in many different ways but even something as seemingly low-level as verbal abuse can escalate into much more serious crimes so reporting incidents straight away is crucial. Hate Free Norfolk aims to educate people on hate crime and its effects so that if people suspect it is happening in their area or have witnessed an incident, they can report it and feel confident that action will be taken to stop it.'

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The launch of Hate Free Norfolk is in response to the Hidden in Plain Sight report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission which looks at the rise in hate crime specifically towards people with disabilities.

Deputy chief constable Simon Bailey said: 'Norfolk Constabulary takes every incident of hate crime very seriously. No incident is too trivial and will be investigated thoroughly.

'Hate crime is a menace to society and can have a devastating, and often life-changing, impact on the victim. Despite the increase in the figures we know that hate crime is under-reported.'

He added: 'Only by increasing reporting can we gain a full understanding of the extent of hate crime.'

To report hate crime telephone police on 999 for emergencies, 101 for non-emergencies or visit the website at www.hatefreenorfolk.com

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