Blog by PC Suzanne Stanbrook - My role as a Hate Crime Coordinator
When I volunteered to do my first ever blog I never thought it would be so difficult, especially as normally I can talk for England! Anyone who knows me will acknowledge that fact too. However I wanted to write about my role as a Hate Crime Coordinator (HCC). I took on the challenge to push myself into the unknown world of blogging. So please bear with me while I explain what a HCC does.
I am sure many of you may even be unaware that your local policing team has a HCC. For me my position takes me in so many different directions due to hate crime covering five characteristics (Disability, Faith, Religion, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity). Each day is truly different. Tackling hate crime is a huge challenge, as unlike violent crime, the weapon is words and cannot be taken from the perpetrator to prevent the crime. The harm inflicted cannot be dressed and given treatment to heal and the threat often cannot be seen before the crime takes place. The guise can also be faceless with the rise of online hate crime becoming ever apparent.
So how do I tackle hate crime? Each month I revisit each hate crime that has been recorded and look for common themes and locations to ensure a targeted policing plan can be put in place to tackle the issue. I look for repeat offenders in order to understand what drives the crime and I ensure each victim has been referred to the correct agency to offer ongoing support following the incident or crime. Before the pandemic, in addition to the administration work, I would visit many small charities giving talks to staff and clients. I am actively involved in the London boroughs I represent, with their community cohesion projects, engagement forums and hate crime and extremism tolerance meetings.
I also work closely with our Community Alliance to Combat Hate (CATCH) partners. CATCH is a group of charities working to end hate crime. Every hate crime or incident that is reported is referred to CATCH, if the victim is willing for this take place. This is so that one of the specialist advice teams can assist people targeted because of their race, religion, disability, sexuality or gender identity.
Galop, The Monitoring Group, Tell Mama, Community Security Trust, Stay Safe East, Choice in Hackney and Real are the charities currently involved in the alliance. Any one of these organisations may contact me to make further recommendations about how we can assist the victim of crime further. This help can range from ensuring that officers use correct pronouns when addressing the LGBTQ+ community, to talking with a victim and referring them on further to ensure they are safeguarded fully.
One day I may be giving a talk to a disability group around what hate crime is, who to talk to and offering solutions for those with communication difficulties and the next I will be speaking about combatting racism within football. I will provide the tools to empower different organisations to continue tackling the issue of hate crime and the importance of why it has no place in our communities.
In addition to referrals, I am also here to assist with investigations into hate crime. Should any officer need further advice around how to deal with a report they have received I will guide them to ensure the best outcome for all involved. I also address the reluctance of the public reporting hate crime from within all of the groups concerned and the misconceptions of ‘what can be done?’ to punish the perpetrator.
I am now discovering a new online world that is allowing me to reach further and engage with more of the community through online events such as National Hate Crime Awareness Week. This platform will allow a legacy to be in place like never before and the hope is that with ongoing discussions around hate crime the number of reports will decline for the right reasons. However, it is important to note I do not do this alone. I work with the support of colleagues on response teams and in Public Protection teams driving the message home about the importance of reporting hate crimes. So a big thank you to them all.