New charter tackling hate crime launched in Leeds

Caption: (Front) - West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson, Leeds City Council’s lead member for community safety Cllr Mick Coulson, Brooke Taylor and Leeds City Council deputy leader Cllr Peter Gruen.

Back: (right) - Chief Superintendent of West Yorkshire Police, Paul Money.

Work to tackle hate crime in communities across the city has been further underpinned this week by the signing of a new 'Leeds Challenges Hate' charter.

Devised and supported by the Safer Leeds Community Safety Partnership, the aim of the charter forms part of a revised hate crime strategy document that sets out the city’s approach to tackling the problem head-on. Three key objectives form part of the strategy. These include;

• Increase awareness and understanding of what constitutes a hate crime through training and publicity

•Increase reporting of hate incidents by building victims confidence

• Decreased number of repeat victims

Councillor Peter Gruen, deputy leader of Leeds City Council said:

"The Safer Leeds Partnership is working extremely hard to tackle, reduce and encourage the reporting of hate incidents and crimes across the city.

"Work already undertaken over the last 12 months has already seen reports of hate incidents increase from 1540 in 2012/13 to 1603 in 2013/14 whilst hate crimes have fallen over the same period from 747 to 735. This positive move shows that people are more confident about reporting hate incidents and knowing that the case will be pursued.

"The revised hate crime strategy aims to continue this trend of increased confidence to report matched by a reduction in incidents deemed to be serious or criminal over the coming years.

"I have every confidence that Councillor Mark Dobson, by joining the Safer Leeds Partnership, will be able to continue this record of success."

Councillor Mick Coulson, Leeds City Council’s lead member for community safety said:

"Hate crime is something that nobody should have to put up with or tolerate, and as part of the ‘Leeds Challenges Hate’ charter that I signed this week, we are making a commitment and sending out a strong message that it will not be tolerated in any form."

Present at the signing of the charter which formed part of a special event held at Leeds Civic Hall this week focusing specifically on hate crime, included Leeds City Council deputy leader Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive member for Cleaner, Stronger and Safer Communities Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s lead member for community safety Councillor Mick Coulson, Chief Superintendent of West Yorkshire Police Paul Money and West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson.

Following the civic hall event, which featured a speech by Rose Simkins of Stop Hate UK and a young person’s perspective of hate crime by Brooke Taylor of Westerton Primary School, participants then attended the opening of a new hate incident reporting centre at Compton One Stop Joint Centre in Harehills.

Providing somewhere where people can find out a range of information and receive advice by trained staff, the new reporting centre form part of a commitment by partners to provide somewhere in communities across the city that will make the reporting of hate crime both easier and quicker.

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said:

"Responses to my ‘Listening to you First’ survey in 2012/13 showed that those who felt threatened or had been attacked were more likely to be female, disabled, gay/ lesbian, Muslim or from an ethnic minority background.

"This is why ‘Tackling Hate Crime’ remains one of the key priorities in my refreshed Police and Crime Plan and I have made some personal commitments on this issue.

"I am really pleased to see partners working together taking some very positive steps forward with the hate crime agenda as hate crime has a significant impact on feelings of safety – and on people’s lives.

"A joint response, with a strong partnership framework will help us to ensure we have the best overall chance of educating communities – sharing a zero tolerance message and supporting communities when hate crime or incidents occur to ensure communities are safer and feel safer."

For a copy of the revised hate crime strategy, please visit www.leeds.gov.uk/hatecrime

To report a hate crime incident visit or call: 101; 999 in an emergency; Stop Hate UK 24 hours 08001381625 or visit any council OSC/ Housing Leeds office. Full list of reporting centres available on website.

Notes to editors:

Following the council’s annual meeting on Monday 10 June, Councillor Mark Dobson will assume the role of Leeds City Council’s executive member for Safer Leeds.

Hate crime is an incident which is motivated by hostility or prejudice based on race, religion, disability, sexual identity or gender.

Hate Incident Reporting Centres in Leeds are locations where victims of a hate incident may choose to report an incident and have control over the nature of the report, the type of investigation and support they need. A list of the Hate Reporting Centres in Leeds can be found at the following: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/Hate%20Incident%20Reporting%20Centres%20updated%2010%20Jun%2014.pdf

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk