NCFE joins forces with Northumbria Police to tackle hate crime in the North East

NCFE has joined forces with Northumbria Police to put a stop to hate crime in the North East by launching internal Hate Crime Champions.

At NCFE, we are committed to our core purpose to promote and advance learning to ensure that learners of all ages, races, religions and from all socioeconomic backgrounds can progress in their lives and careers.

At a time where issues of equality and diversity are regularly featured as headline news, we wanted to share with you the proactive approach we’re taking to raise awareness of hate crime and ultimately put a stop to it in our region, starting with NCFE.

What is hate crime?

Hate crime is defined as ‘any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic’. Targeting anyone verbally or physically because of a protected characteristic is a hate crime. These characteristics include race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

In 2018-19, there were 103,379 hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales, an increase of 10% compared with the previous year, a continuation in the upward trend. The amount of hate crimes recorded has more than doubled since 2012-13 due to improvements in crime reporting by police. Although the number is rising, this highlights that less hate crimes and incidents are going unreported and that there is a growing confidence about reporting hate crimes and them being dealt with accordingly.

In the North East of England, racism-fuelled hate crime is the most reported, but attacks based on sexual orientation and homophobia have increased significantly. In 2019-20 disability hate crime rose by 44% in the North East.

Hate Crime Champions

Northumbria Police has launched the Hate Crime Champions initiative, designed to address concerns of under-reporting and to highlight that hate crime is totally unacceptable in our region and together we can put a stop to it. Nominated champions from organisations throughout the North East are volunteering to support and advise people who may have been the victim of such crimes.

These champions undergo a training programme on hate crime awareness, which explores the impact of hate on victims and the wider community, the barriers to reporting and the best ways to seek help. This role is designed to provide a physical presence, educating those around them within organisations or local communities.

To date, the Hate Crime Champions training has been delivered to nearly 10,000 individuals across a wide range of educational establishments and public and private sector organisations, as well as internally to Northumbria Police staff.

NCFE has joined the campaign to #StopHate by launching its own team of Hate Crime Champions. Hear from the Champions below:

Steven: “The reason I volunteered to become a Hate Crime Champion is due to being passionate about helping support individuals who have protected characteristics who do not always feel like they have a voice. This scheme will enable me to promote awareness of hate crimes and contribute to the education of others.”

Eliza: “I’m a Hate Crime Champion because I believe that we all benefit when we live in a society where people’s rights are known, understood, and protected. By promoting the awareness of what counts as a hate crime and by spreading awareness about which rights and characteristics are protected by law, we can create greater respect and support for each other.”

Adam: “I wanted to be a Hate Crime Champion as I think it is important that everyone has the support and confidence to speak up against discrimination. As a member of the LGBT+ community this has resonated deeply with me, being acutely aware of some of the negative experiences that minority groups are faced with.”

Rachel: “Becoming a Hate Crime Champion was important to me as I truly believe in the power of equality and diversity and that by putting in the work to achieve it, we will all benefit from a richer and more positive experience in the workplace and beyond. Where I can, I hope to use my voice to elevate others, to raise awareness of hate crimes and promote inclusion.”

Danielle: “I’m originally from Northern Ireland and I unfortunately witnessed and heard of many incidents of hate crime while growing up there, predominately relating to religion, race, and sexual orientation. Since moving to the North East, I’m fortunate to have gained a diverse friendship group, however, hate crime is still an issue. I wanted to become a Hate Crime Champion to raise awareness of hate crimes and play my part in making my community a better place to live.”

Rebecca: “I wanted to become a Hate Crime Champion to help to raise awareness of hate crime, and to support colleagues and the community in this area. In my previous role as a primary teacher, I taught about the protected characteristics and hate crime through books. I feel education around this issue is so important and key to creating an open and welcoming community for everybody.”

Claire: "I was interested in becoming a Hate Crime Champion after attending a session on hate crime with Northumbria Police and fully understanding what hate crime is and how this can impact on a person’s life. Being a Hate Crime Champion will mean I get to help people access the right support and advice. It’s great that we are expanding the number of Hate Crime Champions in the region to support the reduction in hate crimes."

Samantha: “After attending the hate crime training with Northumbria Police, I knew it was something I wanted to be part of. Being a Hate Crime Champion has given me the opportunity to potentially help anyone who finds themselves in such circumstances and enables me to offer support and assure them that they are not alone and hate crime is unacceptable.” 

Luise: “I’ve been involved with equality and diversity in the workplace in one shape or form for 15 years, including being a Hate Crime Champion in my previous job. I’m passionate about equal rights, and being a Hate Crime Champion for NCFE is a great way to educate people about misinformation, provide an extra support option for staff, and empower people to feel able to speak out about discrimination.”

Superintendent Karl Wilson, Northumbria Police strategic hate crime lead said: “I would like to give a huge thank you to everyone involved in the development of the Hate Crime Champions scheme. As the Force lead for Hate Crime I am continually amazed by the amount of people who want to be involved in tackling this issue which has such an impact on victims and their friends and families. Please continue your commitment, passion and involvement and thanks again.”

PC Tor Metcalf-Megginson, who has been instrumental in the development of the scheme, commented: “I am really excited by the enthusiasm of staff at NCFE in developing their own Hate Crime Champion network within the organisation. I can't wait to see the positive changes they will make and cannot thank them enough for embracing with such vigour the scheme.”

How to get involved

The Hate Crime Champions programme will be made available very soon for schools, colleges, and centres to deliver to learners.

If you would be interested in hosting a session, please contact [email protected] for more information.

Read more about NCFE’s work with Northumbria Police and the Hate Crime Champions initiative.  

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NCFE has joined forces with Northumbria Police to put a stop to hate crime in the North East by launching internal Hate Crime Champions.