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Rallying call to stamp out racist attacks in county
FOLLOWING a rise in the number of hate crimes reported around the county, a group of people are shouting one message loud and clear with their No Prejudice in HEREfordshire campaign.
Members of the public joined police in High Town on Saturday to raise awareness of the often hostile attacks on minority groups.
Between April 2012 and February 2013, 90 hate crime offences were reported in Herefordshire, with 19 ncidents, not amounting to a crime, rported.
Of the offences and incidents, 87, were racially motivated, which compares
to 55 in the previous year.
Ann Shaw, the tactical equality and diversity advisor with WMP, said:
“Believe it or not, we want to see a rise in reports because that means people have faith in us to do something about it, which we will.”
Richard Hadley, an independent advisor on hate crime to West Mercia Police (WMP), said: “We are living in tough times with cut backs and joblosses.
This can cause social tensions, but people from minority groups should not be made scapegoats.
“People who come over here to work bring a lot to the community. They often do the jobs that locals don’t want to do and support the local economy.”
Crimestoppers is offering a £1,000 reward for information on racist graffiti that has appeared around the county – ranging from ‘Welcome to Poland’ written on road signs to swastikas.
So far it has cost taxpayers £10,000 to remove such graffiti and people can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 with information.
Neville Meredith, the senior equality, integration and partnership officer for Herefordshire Council, said:
“We need to have discussions about the European Union and freedom of movement, but it needs to be a political discussion, not a racist one.”