Hate crime will not be tolerated in Cheshire West and Chester.
That is the strong message from the borough’s community safety partnership which is committed to developing zero tolerance to crime motivated by hostility or prejudice.
The partnership met last Thursday (June 30) to approve an action plan to support the priorities of the Hate Crime Strategy, launched earlier this year.
Under the strategy, partners including Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cheshire Police have pledged to work together to prevent hate crime, increase reporting and improve the response.
Launched earlier this year, the three-year Hate Crime Strategy sets out a robust framework to tackle the root causes of hate crime, support victims and ensure effective action against perpetrators.
Hate crime is a key priority of the partnership, which also includes Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Probation Service and health partners.
The partners are committed to working towards a vision of a borough where diversity is celebrated, hate crime is actively challenged and all communities feel safe.
Cllr Nicole Meardon, Cabinet member for children and families, said: “Tackling hate crime matters. Not only can it have a devastating and lasting effect on victims and their families, but it can - and does - divide our communities.
“That is why it is so important that the Police, the Council and other organisations who work to protect and support those affected by hate crime come together to tackle it.
“The Hate Crime Strategy is about defending the rights of everyone in West Cheshire to live free from fear and discrimination.”
Cllr Meardon added: “Since the EU referendum on June 23 there has been a reported rise in incidents nationally, and anecdotal evidence of a similar trend locally.
“The council and its partners wish to re-iterate the message that hate crime will not be tolerated in our communities.
“Protection and support is available to encourage victims to report incidents and action will be taken against perpetrators.”
A hate crime is any crime motivated by prejudice or hate against a person because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.
Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Boycott, who leads the Cheshire Constabulary’s neighbourhood policing team, said: “In my experience here in Cheshire we treat all communities with tolerance and respect, and long may that continue.
“But I want to make it clear to our minority communities that we’re here for you, and we don’t accept racism or threats because of the colour of their skin or where in the world they were born. That’s hate crime, and we take firm action wherever we come across it.
“There are a number of ways people can report hate crimes – directly to the police, via the TruVision website, or through reporting centres in most large towns. But if you feel at threat you should call us on 101, or in an emergency on 999.”
The Cheshire West and Chester multicultural hub at the Unity Centre in Chester is a hate crime reporting centre, and provides support and advice to residents and visitors.
Further information is available at www.theunitycentre.org. Alternatively telephone 01244 430730 or email email@example.com.
The Hate Crime Strategy can be found at www.westcheshirelsab.co.uk under the Professional Area tab.