South Ribble Council will this week pledge to become a ‘hate crime free zone’.
The fight against hate crime will be boosted when Lancashire’s police czar visits Leyland today.
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw has called on residents councils and organisations to sign up to an anti-hate crime pledge and ‘Say No To Hate’ in the county.
He will attend the Civic Centre where the Mayor of South Ribble, councillor Linda Woollard, council officers and councillors will sign a pledge to raise awareness of the crime which last year resulted in more than 360 prosecutions in Lancashire.
Of all the incidents reported, 89 per cent resulted in a conviction.
A hate incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone’s prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.
Not all hate incidents will amount to criminal offences, but those that do become hate crimes.
Mr Grunshaw said: “I am delighted that South Ribble will be signing up to the pledge and supporting my campaign against hate crime in Lancashire. I am proud of the diversity and strength of our communities in the county and there is a lot of great work going on to bring people together.
“I am clear that Lancashire is no place for hate and I want people to send a clear message by signing up to the pledge, reporting incidents when they happen and seeking support available through Lancashire Victim Services.”
Councillor Woollard said: “Here in South Ribble we want to send a clear message that hate crime will not be tolerated. The diversity among our residents is something that should be welcomed and celebrated. We hope that by supporting our crime commissioner in his campaign we will help to break down prejudice and encourage everyone to take a stand by joining us in signing the pledge against hate crime.”
Margaret Dixon, chairman of Churches Together in Leyland, said: “We at Churches Together in Leyland support the campaign against Hate Crime in Lancashire. We believe that Jesus’ teaching that we should love one another would make this world a better place and continue to pray for a future where hatred has no place.”
National figures have shown that hate crime spiked this year at levels that were 58 per cent higher than 2014.
Chief Supt Stuart Noble, Lancashire Constabulary’s lead on hate crime, said: “Hate incidents and crimes of any kind can have a devastating effect on the victim, their families and communities.
“Such behaviour is not acceptable and instances of it need to end. I would urge victims to report any incidents or crimes, so they can get the help and support they need and prevent it from happening to other people.”
Claire Lindley, chief crown prosecutor, North West Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Hate crimes strike at the core of who we are as people.
“The ability for a community to live without fear of abuse because of their sexual orientation, race or religion or because they have a disability is essential. In 2015/16 CPS Lancashire prosecuted over 360 hate crimes. We gained convictions in nearly 89 per cent of cases. I hope this will reassure the public that something can and is being done to challenge and prosecute those that commit these offences.”
The pledge to ‘Say no to hate’ can be signed at www.Lancashire-pcc.gov.uk/saynotohate