Reporting Hate Crime in Cumbria: An Impossible Task for Victims?
In Cumbria, racism is still one of the key challenges Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) people and communities experience in a range of ways in their everyday life. Race hate crimes are over 65% of total reported hate crimes across Cumbria in last three years. Often this reality is at worst denied and at best underestimated.
The reluctance to report a hate crime, particularly among minority groups in our society who may be discouraged or too scared to talk about it in more formal environments, such as at their local police station, is widely acknowledged.
The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report specifically made a recommendation that in order to encourage hate crime reporting, people should be able to report at locations other than police stations. To this end, Cumbria Constabulary recruited 77 designated third party reporting centers throughout Cumbria in places such as Housing Associations, Council Offices, and Libraries where people could report a hate crime in a friendly, supportive environment and be treated with empathy and sensitivity.
However, a recent research and investigation conducted by AWAZ Cumbria found that 56% of third party reporting centres in Cumbria were not fit for purpose and recommended an immediate overhaul of all existing Third Party Reporting Centres and that all front-line staff in these centres be trained to deal with those reporting a hate crime.
Some of the key findings of the research are:
- 14% of the third party reporting centres on Cumbria Constabulary’s maintained and published list no longer exists.
- 90% of Third party hate crime reporting centres did not offer a friendly and confidential environment to report a hate crime
- Only 17% of front-line staff knew that they were a designated Third Party Hate Crime Reporting Centre.
- 87% of front-line staff in the designated third party hate crime reporting centres in Cumbria, did not exhibit empathy and were not supportive when dealing with the request for information on how to report a hate crime.
- 91% of the centres did not display any posters within their public information space to publicise that they are a third party hate crime reporting centre.
- 81% of the centres did not have information leaflets and Third Party Reporting Forms.
- 100% of the centres did not publish their opening days/times on the list on the Cumbria Constabulary website.
A brief review of the official websites of thirteen public sector organisations and seven housing associations in Cumbria by AWAZ found that the information available for reporting hate crime online is inconsistent and inadequate, and the current arrangements by these organizations’ for reporting ‘Hate Crimes’ online are not fit for purpose .
For further information or to obtain a copy of the full report please click here.
The findings and recommendations of this reserach report have informed AWAZ Policy Advice in the development of Cumbria Multi-agency Tackling Hate Crime Strategy and Action Plan 2012-13.
For further information and to find out more about AWAZ Cumbria Policy Advice Please click here