Police forces who’ve made serious moves to tackle disability hate crime

A brief round up of British police forces who have made serious moves to tackle disability hate crime.

1) Sussex Police:

Sussex is very active in campaigning against disability hate crime and LGBT hate crime. The county’s police force was certainly tweeting on disability hate crime very early on. Here’s their earliest tweet from 12 Sept 2011:

In 2012 Sgt Peter Allan began flying the flag for Sussex police against disability hate crime. His earliest tweet was on 11 Feb 2012 for LGBT hate crime, and disability followed on 25 Aug 2012.

Its sergeants Dave Palmer and Peter Allan are the officers responsible for these types of incidents and both are very active in their roles, working with the relevant communities to promote awareness and a need to report any incidents.

“Sussex Police is taking positive steps to address hate crime and in December (2013) the force was named as one of only three police forces in England and Wales to record an increase in reporting across all five forms of hate crime monitored by police.” (Interview with Wayne Jones, Sussex Police Chief Superintendent on 4 January 2014)

2) Northumbria Police:

The South Tyneside division of Northumbria Police is another force that strongly campaigns against disability hate crime.

Northumbria police has a substantial campaign however it is South Tyneside which is the most active. The division produced a series of videos interviewing various disabled people and their experiences on hate crime.

Northumbria has produced perhaps some of the best posters of disability hate crime awareness.

The latest news on Northumbria’s disability hate crime efforts can be found here

3) Scottish Police:

The old police divisions in Scotland are no longer extant. However Central Scotland Police (based in Stirling) appear to have been one of the very earliest forces to produce a campaign against disability hate crime. It instigated a campaign in 2009 with consultations for the best poster for its programme.

A finalised poster was introduced in 2010.

In 2012 it was found Disability hate crime was reported as being up 40%.

Central Scotland Police was merged with other forces to become Police Scotland in April 2013. This formation oversaw the introduction an organistation called ‘I Am Me’ It is a community group working with Police Scotland and PACE Theatre to raise awareness of, and tackle disability hate crime and it began in March 2013 on Facebook, with a Twitter presence beginning on 21 July 2013. It works with schools and communities to raise awareness.

4) Lancashire Constabulary:

Increased vigilance/more encouragement for victims to report. The initiative stemmed from the scheme run during 2012-2013 and set up by both Government and Blackpool’s Disability First charity. Better reporting saw an increase in hate crime in Blackpool.
Since the scheme’s success Lancashire has upped its ante with regards to disability hate crime. The police commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “Here in Lancashire we are committed to bringing an end to disability hate crime and ensuring everyone is free to live without fear in our communities.”

5) Merton (Metropolitan Police)

Merton MPS is very active on Twitter and has produced a number of campaigns using posters from various organisations. The division’s interest appears to stem from a hate crime against a disabled person during August 2013.

6) Conversely there’s some forces that are a let down. These big fail awards to:

*South Yorkshire police – Craig Kinsella & Stephen Simpson:

Neither case was a disability hate crime although the Sheffield judiciary claimed Kinsella’s was a *slave crime.* Despite campaigning Simpson’s case still stands as a non-disability hate crime. South Yorkshire has some of the lowest DCH stats in the UK and furthermore has a big fail with regards also to race crime.

*Avon and Somerset police – Bijan Ebrahimi:

A one-off fraud haircut in a Bristol barbers immediately becomes a disability hate crime – yet a long and sustained campaign against Bijan Ebrahimi was a non disability hate crime which did not merit the same attention from a police force whose pot noodles seemed more important.

*Greater Manchester Police – Unnamed victims:

Autistic teen Oct 2010 and unnamed disabled pensioner Nov 2013 – GMP’s inability to recognise disability hate crime is typical of many of these cases. Clear hatred against the disabled is met by lackadaisical judicial decisions as per the 2003 legislation.

*Gloucestershire Police – Kevin Davies: 

In the Forest of Dean during 2006 Davies was imprisoned for four months in a garden shed, all the time being tortured before being ultimately killed. Not even a disability hate crime.

*Leicestershire police – Fiona Pilkington/Francessa Hardwick:

Ten years of sustained ignorance against Fiona’s concerns regarding harassment. Case not even denoted a hate crime at the very end. Possibly the worst case in the first decade of the 21st Century, brought on by massive police failures.

*Kent Police – Michael Kerr:

A disabled man exploited because of disability and murdered in 2013, yet despite a prominent trial at London’s Old Bailey the case was not denoted as a disability hate crime.

*Metropolitan Police – Low stats/no stats showing:

The biggest force in the country with a populace of over 8 million had one of the lowest rates of detection in disability hate crime. Not only that its website does not show disability hate crime statistics either!

Further *Big Fails* to AGO/CPS for non-recognition of disability hate crimes, poor procurement of lenient sentencing and a refusal to challenge police forces’ poor decisions in denoting disability hate crimes.

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