Disability hate crime awareness initiative launched
Met Police press release: The Metropolitan Police Service and Inclusion London launch a new initiative aimed at increasing officers’ awareness of disability hate crime.
Press Release from Metropolitan Police:
A new Metropolitan Police Service initiative aimed at increasing officers’ awareness of disability hate crime has been launched.
‘Disability Hate Crime Matters’ was launched at New Scotland Yard on Thursday, 31 March, and was attended by Disabled people’s organisations and support groups from across London and key partners such as the Crown Prosecution Service.
‘Disability Hate Crime Matters’, led by the Met and Inclusion London, aims to improve the identification, investigation and response by officers to disability hate crime (DHC). The awareness briefings began rolling out to officers from Community Safety Units, Road and Transport teams, local policing teams, emergency response officers and crime screening teams earlier this year. It follows a pilot launched in September 2015 in Greenwich, Islington and Croydon. The initiative has helped capture more reports of disability hate crime in one month than were recorded in the last four months of last year.
Commander Mak Chishty, the Metropolitan Police Service’s Hate Crime lead, said: “The extent and impact of disability hate crime is not always fully understood, even recognised by the victims of such behaviour or by those with the responsibility for dealing with it. It is vital that we improve awareness to staff to ensure disability hate crime incidents are identified and recorded appropriately at first contact. This is imperative if we are to improve the confidence of deaf and disabled people to report incidents to police and protect them from harm.”
There are 900 specialist officers across London working in Community Safety Units dedicated to investigating all forms of hate crime and domestic abuse.
Disability hate crime is classed as any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s disability or perceived disability.
If hostility is evidenced in a case from the outset, or if the incident was motivated by hostility towards someone due to their disability or perceived disability, then there is provision for an enhanced sentence.
Today’s event also incorporated a short workshop with opportunities to discuss views on how disabled people’s organisations can work with police to improve community confidence and awareness. It is hoped this will improve community confidence and encourage the reporting of incidents of disability hate crime to police, as well as highlighting the key role disabled people’s organisations have to play in this.
Anne Novis, the Metropolitan Police Service’s Independent Advisor for disability, said: “I am very proud of working with the MPS, to develop this initiative which has helped to capture more reports of disability hate crime.”
“Officers are now better informed of how to capture deaf and disabled peoples experiences of hostility. As an Independent Advisor with the MPS I hope to see even more developments as the MPS works together with deaf and disabled people’s organisations and victims, to continually and consistently improve their services and responses to disability hate crime in London.”
Read more from Anne Novis, Inclusion London trustee, at The Four Corners Blog.