Hate crime victims urged to speak up

Victims of hate crimes have been urged to speak to police to help them understand the "true scale of the problem" amid soaring reports.

West Midlands Police bosses saw a 43 per cent increase between 2021-2022 on the previous year in relation to hate crimes relating to sexual orientation.

The force recorded 1,765 offences in total, with 234 being committed against those who are transgender, as calls mount for victims to get proper support.

Inspector Amanda Thompson, from West Midlands Police, said: “It’s sad that in the 21st century, people are still being targeted because of who they love and how they identify.

“We know that hate crimes generally – and transphobic hate crimes specifically – are underreported. From the figures, it is not possible to say whether more reports of hate crime signal more crimes, or whether they demonstrate that people are more willing to report offences to us.

“It is important that we know about all hate crimes so that we can bring offenders to justice, make sure victims get the support they need and to help us understand the true scale of the problem so that interventions can be put in place.”

West Midlands Victims’ Commissioner Nicky Brennan said it was "shocking" to see a rise in reports and said hate crime "is never okay".

She added: "This is of great concern to me and we must do all we can to challenge discriminatory and abusive behaviour like this in the West Midlands.

“I will continue to work hard to support victims and lobby for more help in tackling these issues.

“We also continue to work with our commissioned support service Remedi, which provides emotional and practical support for victims of hate crime as well as a restorative justice service."

Councillor John Cotton, Birmingham City Council cabinet member for social justice, community safety and equalities, said: “There is no place for hate in our city. Our first priority will always be to stand up for the rights of Birmingham’s citizens, whoever they are and whatever their background. Birmingham is a city built on diversity, something we are proud of and celebrate as a strength – we will always challenge hate and intolerance wherever it is found.

“Our city must always be a place where everyone is free to be who they want to be and love who they wish to love. That’s why we work closely with our city partners, including West Midlands Police, to challenge hate crime and champion respect for people of all sexualities, ethnicities, genders, faiths or world views.

“It’s clear we must all work together to tackle this issue, to ensure people are heard and support is offered to those affected. Last autumn, the council brought together businesses, the council and police, and LGBTQI community representatives to develop a ten-point plan to make our streets safe for all, day and night.

“That work continues – as we are determined that hate must never flourish in any corner of our great city.”

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