Door staff in bid to stop hate crime

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STAFF working on the doors of bars, clubs and pubs in the area have joined forces with police to tackle hate crime.

A free pilot training programme has seen 40 door staff from five different companies learn how to recognise and report all forms of hate crime, with the aim of making to city and town centre safer places to be on a night out.

The staff learnt about the importance of working with police when it comes to combating crimes that are carried out because of the offender’s attitude towards their victim’s race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation, transgender identity, disability or lifestyle and dress code.

Sylvia Lancaster was a guest speaker at the training programme.

Sylvia has tirelessly campaigned to reduce hate crime following the death of her daughter Sophie in 2007.

Sophie and her boyfriend were attacked by a gang simply because they did not like the pair’s Goth appearance.

The training was delivered by police in partnership with the Preston and Western Lancashire Race Equality Council and the Wyre and Lancaster District Hate Crime Project funded by the Big Lottery.

Sgt Nicki Bignell, hate crime officer for Lancaster and Morecambe, said: “Everyone who comes into Lancaster and Morecambe for a night out wants to be able to enjoy themselves without fear of abuse or violence.

“On the whole, crime in these two places is low, but hate crime is a potential threat, which is why we have created a training programme that helps door staff who are often in a position to witness, or even be a victim of, hate crime and provide training on how to deal with the situation.”

Rebecca Oughton, a disabled Lancaster resident, who was a victim of a hate crime in a club, attended a special event to mark the success of the training.

She said: “It’s an amazing thing. These door supervisors have given up a lot of their own time to learn and it’s a credit to them and Lancashire Constabulary that they show so much commitment to tackling hate crime.”