Hate crime

Have you been intimidated, harassed, victimised or abused because of who you are or what you believe in?

If so, then you are a victim of hate crime.

A hate crime is any criminal offence that is motivated by hostility or prejudice based upon a victim’s disability, ethnicity, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender identity.

Hate crime victims may experience:

  • Physical assault
  • People swearing or making abusive remarks
  • Spitting or insulting gestures
  • People doing things that frighten, intimidate or cause distress
  • Bullying at school, college or place of work
  • Arson
  • Having property stolen or damaged
  • Disputes with neighbours
Report it!

We encourage victims and witnesses of hate crime to report incidents to the police without fear - you will be taken seriously and treated with sensitivity. In fact, if it can be proven that offenders committed the crime and it was motivated by hate, they could face a lengthier sentence if convicted at court.

Hate crime officers

Bedfordshire Police has hate crime officers that will act as Single Points of Contact (SPOC) on each of their teams.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary has a dedicated Hate Crime Team in Peterborough and a Community Cohesion Team in Cambridge City.

Hertfordshire Constabulary has specially trained hate crime officers based throughout the county.

These dedicated officers offer victims help, support and advice. They can meet you in a place you feel comfortable and safe and will explain options available to you. They can also be there for you if a statement needs to be taken and if the case goes to court. You can be confident you will be treated with dignity and respect.

Support for victims and witnesses

Support can be provided, with the agreement of the court, through the provision of 'special measures' to victims and witnesses who may be vulnerable or are being intimidated. These can help you give your best evidence in court and help to relieve some of the stress associated with giving evidence.

   Special Measures: Legal Guidance: The Crown Prosecution Service

In summary, the special measures available to some vulnerable and intimidated witnesses, with the agreement of the court, include:

  • Screens - may be made available to shield the witness from the defendant
  • Live Link - enables the witness to give evidence during the trial from outside the court through a televised link to the court room. The witness may be accommodated either within the court building or in a suitable location outside the court
  • Evidence given in private - when members of the public and the press (except for one named person to represent the press) are not allowed into court, in cases involving sexual offences or intimidation by someone other than the accused
  • Removal of wigs and gowns by judges and barristers - available for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses at Crown Court
  • Examination of the witness through an intermediary - appointed by the court, to assist the witness to give their evidence in court. This is a specially trained professional who can be called on to help a vulnerable or intimidated witness or victim understand questions being put to them and to have their answers understood. This person can be present at each stage of the criminal justice process, from a police interview through to a trial. They help make the process accessible to some of the most vulnerable people in society and may be the difference between a witness being able to testify or not
  • Aids to communication - to enable a witness to give their best evidence whether through a communicator or interpreter, or through a communication aid or technique, provided that the communication can be independently verified and understood by the court. This is intended to help vulnerable witnesses who need to use a device to communicate, such as computers, voice synthesisers, symbol boards and books

Victim Support also have two additional case workers that are there specifically to respond to hate crime and domestic abuse cases.

Hate Crime Film

Hertfordshire Constabulary has created a short film of victim’s experiences of hate crime. Six Hertfordshire residents, who have experienced hate crime because of their disability, religion, transgender identity, sexual orientation and race, talk about what happened to them and stress the importance of reporting incidents to the police.

   Hate crime film: Don’t suffer in silence

No-one has to put up with hate crime – report it!

Homophobic/Transphobic Crime

Bedfordshire Police, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Hertfordshire Constabulary have trained a number of officers and staff as Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers (LAGLOs). Though they are not all LGBT themselves (many are), they are there to assist both victims and investigators of crimes. If you are a victim of any kind of crime and feel that you would be more comfortable talking to a LAGLO, just ask.

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