There has recently been a bit of negative press surrounding hate crime awareness within the UK transport network, with the number of reported hate crimes increasing
In this article, Acorn Stairlifts highlight the types of problems which have been recorded and what someone can do if they’ve been a victim or witnesesed this crime.
What is a hate crime?
Before we delve into the issues that the UK’s transport network has witnessed in regards to hate crime, let us first understand just what is meant by this criminal offence.
To begin with, a hate crime is when a person commits a crime against another individual as a result of their disability, gender identity, race, religion, sexual orientation, or another actual or perceived difference. The crime itself can be any of the following:
- Physical attacks: These can include assault, damage made to property, graffiti that is offensive or arson
- Verbal abuse, harassment, or insults: These can include abusive gestures, the creation of offensive leaflets and posters, and taunting
- Intimidation tactics: This includes unfounded, malicious complaints, outing or the threat of outing
- Threatening an attack: This can include with the creation of offensive letters, using offensive language, or by making abusive or obscene telephone calls
- Dumping rubbish: This can be either through letterboxes or outside a person’s home
- Bullying: This can occur in the workplace or at school
The state of hate crime in UK public transport
Based on a freedom of information request made to the British Transport Police (BTP), The Independent has highlighted just how serious hate crime now is on the transport network that’s in place throughout the UK.
The underlining point to be made from the publication’s findings is that the number of hate crimes which have been reported to the police which occurred on the nation’s transport network has doubled in the last five years alone.
Focusing on particular areas of hate crime, The Independent also established that:
- Race hate crimes increased from 1,453 cases in 2013 to 2,566 cases in 2017
- Homophobic crimes increased from 139 cases in 2013 to 416 cases in 2017
- Faith-linked crimes increased from 64 cases in 2013 to 294 cases in 2017
Following the release of the data, a spokesperson from the BTP pointed out that the organisation had seen a rise in hate crime incidents after they launched its #WeStandTogether initiative — a campaign which urges people to report these types of criminal offences.
They also stated:
“The sort of hate crime we see on the transport network is largely verbal abuse, rather than physical attacks, but this is extremely serious, and we treat every report seriously.”
Nexus, which operates in the North-East of England, discuss the need to take hate crime seriously.
In an article, Nexus stated:
“Hate crime is not an issue unique or particular to public transport, but while it remains rare on buses and Metro, we recognise that it does occur, and that incidents too often still go unreported.”
Because of this, the firm marked last year’s national Hate Crime Awareness Week by co-ordinating with Arriva, Go North East and Stagecoach so that they could publish the inaugural hate crime charter for public transport.
Available to read in full online, the document details the commitments that the transport providers involved have made to help victims of hate crime, as well as the police and local communities.
“Most of this represents good work that transport operators are already doing, and have been for some time. By coming together through this charter, we will go further – to work together to share best practice and engage with police forces, police and crime commissioners, and voluntary groups to review progress.”
How to go about reporting a hate crime
Hate crimes should be reported to the police, with a number of options available to you on how to do so:
- If the criminal offence is putting yourself or another individual in immediate danger, you should always call 999. You can also contact your local police authority on 101 or call into a police station, if you’re nearby
- If the criminal offence isn’t an emergency that is putting anyone in immediate danger, you should contact the BTP on 0800 40 50 40 at the earliest possible opportunity to report the extent of the incident. The BTP can also be contacted by sending a text message to 61016, though in this case be sure to inform the force what happened, when the hate crime occurred and the location that the criminal offence took place
- A report can be submitted, either under your name or anonymously if you prefer, via the True Vision website if you don’t feel comfortable talking directly to the police about the incident. All information provided will be passed to the police for them to carry out an investigation
- Anti-Muslim hate crimes can be reported to Tell MAMA by either visiting their website, contacting 0800 456 1226 or getting in touch via WhatsApp on 0734 184 6086
- Anti-Semitic hate crimes can be reported to the Community Security Trust by either heading to their website or calling 0208 457 9999
It’s important to note as well that you don’t need to be the target of hate crime in order for you to report the criminal offence. Anything untoward that you witness happening to someone else should be reported using the options above, while you can also submit a report on another person’s behalf if they request it.
On their website, the BTP has emphasised:
“It’s not OK to be targeted because you’re different or because of who you or your friends and family are (or who people think they are).”
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