Barnfield College has become the first educational establishment in Bedfordshire to become a Hate Crime Reporting Centre.
Also joining the list of firsts as a Hate Crime Reporting Centre is community interest company, Meaningful Education, which provides learning opportunities across the county.
The establishments will work in partnership with Bedfordshire Police, joining the list of organisations acting as reporting centres which take reports on behalf of the police. The centres allow victims and witnesses of hate crime to report the matter in familiar surroundings and to someone they may feel more comfortable with rather than reporting it directly to the police. This ensures all victims and witnesses are able to report hate crimes.
Bedfordshire Police works in partnership with a variety of partners who perform the role of Third Party Reporting Centres. Staff within these centres have been trained to assist a victim or witness in submitting a report to the police and can make such a report on the victim or witness’ behalf.
Hate Crime Sergeant James Hart said: “We are really pleased that Barnfield College and Meaningful Education are on board to give more victims an opportunity to report hate crime. Hate crime can happen to anyone, any time, simply because others take a disliking to their identity. It has a devastating impact on victims and can leave them isolated, vulnerable and even suicidal, for being threatened, attacked or abused, often repeatedly. Although we have seen a rise in people reporting hate crime, we know it remains under-reported and our Third Party Reporting Centres play an important role in encouraging victims to come forward.”
Beth Taylor, of Barnfield College, said: “We are delighted to work with Bedfordshire Police to raise awareness and help combat hate crime, and are truly honoured to have become the first college in the county to become a reporting centre. We are committed to the cause to providing a platform for anyone, both internal and external to Barnfield College, who has been a victim of hate crime or has any concerns about someone who has been a victim.”
Director Clare Copleston, of Meaningful Education, added: “Hate crimes are based on ignorance, prejudice and discrimination and have no place in our community. Here at Meaningful Education we believe it is of the utmost importance to treat everybody with dignity and respect.”
Examples of other centres participating in the scheme range from Citizens Advice to voluntary groups. They can be viewed on the Bedfordshire Police website.
To keep up-to-date with how Bedfordshire Police is tackling hate crime visit @HateCrimeSgt on Twitter.