Hate Crime/Incident Update
Decision Maker: External Scrutiny Committee
Decision status: Recommendations approved
Is Key decision?: No
The Chair welcomed Saeed Sidat, Principal equalities and Cohesion Manager; Chief Inspector Ian Mills, Lancashire Constabulary and Chair of the Lancashire Strategic Hate Crime and Cohesion Group; and Andrew Proctor, Lancashire Constabulary, to the meeting.
It was reported that the draft Hate Crime Strategy and Delivery Plan was in the process of being finalised and was presented as an opportunity for the Committee to contribute to the overall development of the strategy and delivery plan before they were presented to the Lancashire Public Services Board on the 25 October 2017 for sign off.
A question was asked on whether police resources and the lack of community policing was affecting the achievement of the five key areas. It was reported that tackling Hate Crime had to be a multi-agency approach and was not confined to the responsibility of one organisation. Working in partnership was vital and the voluntary, community and faith sector (VCFS) was pivotal in supporting the multi-agency approach given the efficiencies required of the public sector.
Integration was key to reducing hate crime in our communities. It was reported that the more people who contacted the police regarding hate crime the better. However, on the Constabulary's recent review of front counters across the County, there was a concern that any subsequent closure of a front counter would limit the options for reporting Hate Crime, especially for those who might not wish to use the 101 service. Concern was therefore expressed on whether third party reporting centres would be able to cope with demand or help support victims and resolve all issues that were reported in this way.
The Committee was informed that third parties were beginning to express an interest in becoming dedicated reporting centres. It was highlighted that third party reporting centres had to be accessible and in a location where people would feel comfortable to go in order to receive empathy and support. However, there would need to be sufficient and willing people trained to run an effective third party reporting centre.
The Committee was also informed that rather than impose the Constabulary's way of how Hate Crime should be reported, to approach and consult specific groups and communities such as the LGBT community, Galloways and Deafway to improve and develop bespoke ways of reporting. Current methods of reporting included the 999 and 101 service, the Constabulary's website, True Vision, the Lancashire Council of Mosque's helpline and other third party reporting centres.
Members felt it was important to know where all third party reporting centres were located throughout the County. It was reported that the Lancashire Constabulary website included a map of where they all were along with their contact details.
Members were encouraged by the level of engagement from partners with the Lancashire Strategic Hate Crime and Cohesion Group. However, it was noted that from the education sector, only UCLAN was present. A question was asked on whether the Group would benefit from having a much wider representation from across the County from the education sector. It was agreed that education as a whole and not just further or higher education establishments should be represented on the group.
With regard to schools, a question was asked on what steps were being taken for schools to make it easier for pupils to report Hate Crime. The Committee was informed that the County Council had a Schools Equality Group made up of Headteachers and officers from Children Services on a strategic level with a representative from this Group having a seat on the Lancashire Strategic Hate Crime and Cohesion Group. In addition to this, one third party organisation and a voluntary organisation were visiting schools throughout the County to talk about Hate Crime.
On the under-reporting of hate crime, it was queried as to whether pre-conceived images of the police might deter people from reporting. The Committee was informed that there was a need to manage expectations and raise awareness internally and externally but also raising confidence in the criminal justice system as a whole in order to achieve positive outcomes for victims.
Nationally Lancashire was one of the most successful areas for prosecutions around recorded hate crimes with an 80% success rate. The Chair thanked the officers for the work they had done. Whereupon it was;
Resolved: That the report be noted.
Report author: Saeed Sidat
Date of decision: 10/10/2017
Decided at meeting: 10/10/2017 - External Scrutiny Committee