Hate crime has no place in our town

Published Monday, 10th October 2016
Cllr Hoddinott and Speak Up
Cllr Hoddinott and Speak Up’s Geoff Doncaster speak to victims of Hate Crime, including Speak Up’s hate crime advocate Jonathan Evans (left).

Rotherham Council is saying ‘NO!’ to hate crime after hearing some of the ‘shocking’ incidents experienced by residents in Rotherham.

Hate Crime Awareness Week runs from 8 - 15 October 2016. As part of the campaign, Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety Cllr Emma Hoddinott has been meeting with groups to discuss the impact hate crime has on their lives.

Residents with learning disabilities and autism welcomed Cllr Hoddinott to their Speak Up office – with some of the stories she heard being ‘truly upsetting’.

She said: “I was shocked and saddened by their experiences. I heard how people had awful experiences on buses, for example threatening to set their hair alight, having a plaster thrown at them, shouting and intimidation, and even being punched.

“This behaviour towards people is completely unacceptable. It has no place in our town.”

Hate crimes are targeted at someone because of race or ethnicity, religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity, with Rotherham seeing a 43% increase in reports of hate crime in the last year.

She added: “More reports are being made and partners are continuing to work together to build trust with community members to continue this. However, we know that hate crime is still under-reported. I have written to the bus companies to ask us to work with us on tackling this issue, more work needs to be done, especially in getting prosecutions.”

Rotherham Council is now working with bus companies and South Yorkshire Police to look at ways the low number of prosecutions can be addressed.

Witness statements can sometime make a big difference to whether offenders can be identified and cases progressed to court. Those that witness hate crime are therefore encouraged to report it.

The national theme for this year’s Hate Crime Awareness Week is 'Upstanders and not bystanders'. Given the rise in hate crimes that have been documented against communities, the national campaign aims to inspire others to stand up and to inform, educate and sometimes, advocate for those being targeted.

If you are bullied, taunted, or suffer any abuse because of your race, disability, faith, sexuality or gender identity, or you have witnessed a hate incident taking place, you can report it to the police directly on 101, or through local reporting centres. A full list of reporting centres can be found online:

View the full list of reporting centres

If you prefer not to make a formal report or you would prefer not be contacted or leave your name, you can also report through the Operation Solar email address:

Email Operation Solarimage

Whilst the Police will not be able to contact you and investigate your individual report, they will use the information you provide to target and tackle hate crime in the community.

Rotherham Council’s Community Safety Unit will be raising awareness of hate crime in Riverside House, Main Street, Rotherham, on Wednesday 12 October.

Meanwhile, South Yorkshire Police Operation Solar team will be hosting a stand in Rotherham Hospital Community Corner, Moorgate Road, Moorgate, throughout Hate Crime Awareness Week.