I got an unusual email yesterday from the police: “I am pleased to inform you that you have passed the Hate Crime Assessment”, which was in marked contrast to an earlier one I got regarding my not wearing a seat belt 🙂 The context was: I attended a half day training at my local police station about becoming a Hate Crime Ambassador (HCA) and later taking a (not too onerous) online test designed to check out my understanding.
As one who has been working for many years among the very groups the Police recognize as being susceptible to Hate Crime: BME, disabled, religious, gay and transgender, I was happy to respond to the invitation and join in with representatives from all these group in listening and brainstorming. It was a pleasant occasion especially as I was among folk who see things I don’t see. Much of what was said I knew already, like the biggest reported victims of hate crime were those from other races, followed by the disabled, and that many hate crimes go unreported, but it was good to be reminded and listen to people tell their stories. I found the time chewing over the facts to be constructive. It was good to know police are taking hate crimes seriously and that it is possible to report them online.
We live in a day when crimes motivated by hate are all too evident. I have learnt that this is especially so with those who are different, in a minority and are vulnerable (including the homeless). I am not sure what difference my becoming an HCA will make, but I hope to play my part empowering people to report hate crimes and play my part working toward a society in which “stop the hate” is a reality.