Sutton’s Liberal Democrat Council is strongly backing a police appeal to residents to contact Sutton Police if they have been the target of a “hate crime” because of their disability, gender identity, race, religion or sexual orientation.
Hate crimes range from being called names in the street, spitting, bullying or harassment through to being physically assaulted or having property damaged. Hate crime may also come in a letter, email, text message, or as graffiti or on social media.
To draw attention to these important issues Council and police will be taking a number of actions during Hate Awareness Week (8-15 October).
Throughout October Sutton Council’s email banner has changed to reflect its support for the Awareness Week initiative. Officers from the council, Police and Sutton Citizen’s Advice Bureau will be on the streets talking to residents about hate crime and how to report it.
Last year, 369 hate crime incidents were reported in the borough but the Police believe the actual number of people suffering abuse is much higher.
For Hate Crime Awareness Week detectives from Sutton Police Station will be based at the borough’s mobile reassurance unit (mobile police station) to encourage the reporting of hate crime and to give advice. The unit will be at these locations on the following days:
- Monday 10 October, 11am – 2pm Sutton High Street
- Tuesday 11 October, 11am – 2pm Wallington High Street
- Friday 14 October, 11am – 2pm St Helier Open Space
Safer Neighbourhoods officers in Sutton will also be running a disability initiative at Sutton Life Centre on 12 and 13 October from 10.30am to 3.00pm each day. People with physical and hidden disabilities from Sutton Mencap and Orchard Hill College will be attending with their carers, guardians or support workers to receive training on what constitutes a hate crime.
The training, which will be based on three scenarios where people with disabilities feel most at risk, such as on a bus, in the street or at home, will be delivered by Sutton Mencap, Orchard Hill and Police.
In addition, during both days, Safer Neighbourhoods officers will launch a police mentoring scheme in which up to 90 people with disabilities have the opportunity to team up with individual officers on a one-to-one basis.
Cllr Ruth Dombey, Lib Dem Leader of Sutton Council, said: “Sutton is a diverse, tolerant and open community that values and appreciates people of all cultures, backgrounds and abilities. The borough is a popular place to live and work, and our council has always had zero tolerance of hate crime. I would urge anyone who experiences it in any form to contact the Police.
“During its long history Sutton’s Lib Dem Council has always worked very closely with the police and together we have been able to turn the borough into one of the safest boroughs in London. We want it to stay that way.”
Sutton Borough Commander, Chief Supt Dave Stringer, said: “Any sort of hate crime will not be tolerated and offenders will be dealt with robustly. We want people who have been a victim of hate crime to report it to police to enable us to take steps to put a stop to it and bring offenders before the Courts.”
Hate crime can be reported direct to the Police if you feel comfortable doing so by dialling 101 for non-emergencies, and 999 for emergencies.