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Hate crime

We will not tolerate any form of hate crime and are committed to reducing the harm caused to victims.

A safer Surrey for everyone

Our vision is to make Surrey the safest county it can be.

This means everyone feeling safe, whether you are out and about, at home, at school, at work or just visiting.

We take hate crime very seriously, tackling it is one of our priorities, and if you or someone you know has been a victim we want to hear from you.

If you or a family member have been a victim of a hate crime, or have been involved in a hate related incident, we know that it can be very distressing and sometimes it feels like the last thing you want to do is talk to someone else about it, especially a stranger in a uniform, but we want to know about it and are here to help.

It is important that we find out about hate crime and hate related incidents so we can help you and hopefully stop it happening to someone else in the future.

Hate crime or hate incident?

In order for a matter to be dealt with by the police, a criminal offence has to have occurred.  If you feel you are being targeted we still want to know about it.  Before a hate crime will be committed, often a number other incidents will have already happened.  If we are aware of a problem, we can try and get the right support in place to try and prevent the crime occurring.  We work with a number of other agencies, such as housing and the council, and we can do our best to get right support for your issue.

Reporting these incidents also helps us build a picture of what is going on in our communities and highlights the areas within our communities that need us most.  Ideally we would like to address problems before they become a crime, but unfortunately this isn’t always possible, so if things do progress your reports can be vital to us during any future investigation.

Hate crimes are any crimes that are targeted at a person because of a hostility or prejudice towards that person’s:

  • disability
  • race or ethnicity
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation
  • transgender identity
  • alternative subculture identity - for example "Goth" "Emo" "Punk"

Offences can be committed against a person or property.

You can be a victim of hate crime even if the person committing the crime targets you by mistake, for example thinking that you are Muslim when you are in fact Christian.

A victim does not have to be a member of the group at which the hostility is targeted. In fact, anyone could be a victim of a hate crime.

We are committed to preventing all types of hate crime and supporting the victims of crime.  Surrey Police has made the decision to include an extra category of hate crime – alternative subcultures.

Any incident or crime which is perceived to be motivated because of a person's race, ethnicity or religion - either their actual ethnicity/religion or ethnicity/religion as perceived by the offender - will be recorded as such.  Hate crimes can be committed against a person or property.

A racist or religious hate crime is: 

“Any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race”

or

“Any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s religion or perceived religion”

Any incident or crime, which is perceived to be motivated because of a person's sexual orientation or transgender identity - either their actual sexual orientation or gender identity or as perceived by the offender - will be recorded as such. Hate crimes can be committed against a person or property.

A homophobic hate crime is:

“Any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation.”

A transphobic hate crime is:

“Any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.”
We understand that your identity, whether you identify with a specific gender or not, has nothing to do with your sexuality, and believe that you should be free to be the person you want to be.

Any incident or crime, which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated because of a person's disability or perceived disability will be recorded as such. This can be committed against a person or property.

A disability hate crime is:

“Any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s disability or perceived disability.”

The Equality Act 2010 (EA) generally defines a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

The EA includes special rules that ensure that people with HIV, cancer and multiple sclerosis are deemed to be disabled people effectively from the point of diagnosis, rather than from the point when the condition has some adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

The definition of disability hate crime would include anyone who was targeted as a result of his or her disability or impairment, as defined by the EA, including those diagnosed with HIV.

We are very proud to say that Surrey Police will be recording crimes against people from alternative subcultures as hate crimes. 

Alternative subculture hate crimes are crimes committed against people for the way the dress or their lifestyle.  The introduction of alternative subculture hate crime has been pioneered by Sylvia Lancaster, whose daughter was tragically kicked to death in 2007, simply for the way she dressed.

Sophie Lancaster could be described as a ‘Goth’. She was attacked, along with her boyfriend, just for the way she looked and her style.

We will not tolerate this behaviour and mindless hatred in Surrey and so have made the decision to record any crimes of this nature as hate crimes.

Sophie experienced other abuse and assaults before her death, which were never reported to Police.  We want people to feel confident talking to us, in the knowledge that their report will be taken seriously and recorded as a hate crime.

Sylvia has very kindly attended and spoken to our officers about Sophie’s case and tried to give them a different insight into hate crime and the impact it can have on both victims and their families.

We fully support her campaign to include alternative subculture hate crime as one of the government's recognised characteristics for hate crime, but until that happens, we will be doing our part by recording and investigating these offences as hate crimes.

Visit the Sophie Lancaster Foundation for advice or support with alternative subcultures.

Reporting hate crime

Once your report is received it will be reviewed by our contact centre to decide the best department to deal with your incident.  They will log your report and advise you of what will happen next.  Some reports will be documented and passed on to partner agencies.  In most circumstances, the call handler will take some information over the phone and then arrange for an officer to come out to see you.

 

If an officer visits you, they will take further information and talk through the issues you are experiencing. A statement is a really important part of any investigation, it records what has happened, your experiences, and how it has impacted on you. It is the legal document that becomes the evidence and foundation of the case.

When you are giving your statement, the officer will also document any other evidence you might have, for example notes or video clips.  These then become your exhibits.

The officer will then update your crime report and an investigation will take place. You will be contacted by the officer in charge of your case and given their contact details. They will try and locate the suspects and interview them, and try to gather any other information possible by finding witnesses or CCTV footage that may help the investigation.  Once this has been completed, the case will be reviewed and a decision made whether or not there is sufficient evidence to charge the suspect.  If they are charged then a court date will be set.

However, a charge and court is not always the only option and the officers will talk to you about alternatives where they are available, such as Caution or Community Resolution.  You will be asked your views on how you believe the matter would be best dealt with.

 

If you are experiencing hate crime, it is highly likely that others are suffering too, and they may not feel able to come forward. Sometimes one person speaking up can have a huge impact on a community, and may encourage others to come forward and make themselves heard.

We understand that sometimes, choosing to come forward and prosecute can be difficult, particularly if you are being targeted continuously.  We will always do our very best to help with these situations, we want everyone to feel safe within our communities and we want your help to make Surrey the safest County it can be.

You can report hate crime to Surrey Police by:

  • completing our non-emergency online form
  • calling on us on 101, in an emergency always dial 999
  • calling CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111
  • or using TrueVision's website to anonymously report online

 

How should I respond if I witness hate crime in public?

When hate crime occurs in public it is often met by nervous silence - with members of the public unsure of what they can do to support the victim and stand up against injustice.

Here are some ideas about how you can support members of our community.

Above all else please stay safe - be aware that your involvement might escalate the situation in particular if the perpetrator is violent.

Don't put yourself in danger but are there things you can do?

Can you raise the alarm to a bus driver, train guard or town centre security guard?

Can you stand next to the victim - put an arm around them and ask them if they are ok?

Last year 978 hate crimes were reported to Surrey Police. The Home Office suggests that the actual number of incidents could be almost four times that number - with the majority not being reported.

Reasons for not reporting hate crime are many and varied, but often it can be because the victim normalises the behaviour because it happens repeatedly - a price to be paid for being different. We don't believe that that is acceptable.

Many of us have mobile devices that can take photos and record video. Recording these instances of hate crime provides Surrey Police with the evidence we need to make an arrest or bring a charge against the perpetrator.

There may be CCTV cameras near to where the incident is taking place, but they may be broken or not working correctly. As well as intervening and speaking up please record as much of the incident as possible on your phone.

We take hate crime very seriously and tackling it is one of our priorities. Please encourage victims to report incidents of hate crime to us - if witnesses also report hate crime it supports the testimony of victims and shows solidarity that we will not stand for this as a community.

You can report hate crime in the following ways:

  • In an emergency - dial 999
  • In a non-emergency - dial 101
  • Report online via Truevision
  • Report anonymously via CrimeStoppers - dial 0800 555 111

Surrey's LGBT+ Liaison Officers

A Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) Liaison Officer has specialist training in, and a specific understanding of LGBT+ issues and performs the role because they believe in its value.

We can offer:

Support to officers, staff and the LGBT+ population

Support effective criminal investigation

Provide knowledge and understanding

Support engagement initiatives

Initiate engagement opportunities

Offer external points of contact.

Phone: 01483 630474
Email: LGBT@surrey.pnn.police.uk
Twitter: SurreyBeatLGBT