Week to raise awareness of hate crime

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People will be asked about their experiences of hate crime on public transport, as part of an awareness-raising series of activities.

Operation Odium takes place during National Hate Crime Awareness Week, which begins on Monday, October 14.

It has been organised by Lancashire County Council’s Safer Travel Team working with Lancashire police, bus operators and colleagues from Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool Council.

The aim is to raise awareness and increase the number of incidents reported to the Safer Travel Team, Lancashire Police and other agencies, such as True Vision - a police-funded website designed to provide information about hate crime and enable people to report if they have been a victim.

People will be asked about their experiences of hate crime, whether they’ve witnessed an incident involving someone else and how people can report incidents.

The teams will also be out and about talking to passengers on busy bus routes and visiting bus stations and transport interchanges.

They will also talk to bus drivers at depots and bus stations about their experiences. The team will liaise with the bus companies on specific issues found during the checks.

Craig Brown, transport officer for Lancashire County Council said: “Our Safer Travel Team is committed to making people aware of what hate crime is and how they can report it.

“Being a victim of hate crime can affect your ability to use public transport or even leave the house.

“Because the offence is directed specifically at the person, as a result of their religion, race, transgender identity, sexuality or disability, it can have a greater impact than indiscriminate crime such as theft.

”Under-reporting is a significant problem for many reasons. We hope that this week of activity will help to increase people’s awareness, so that they report any incidents that they experience.”

Sergeant Jeanette Hickey, from Lancashire Police said: “Hate crimes are high victim impact crimes and research shows they can have a devastating, long-lasting effect on people subjected to them and also the wider community either witnessing them or hearing about them.

“We welcome this opportunity to work in partnership and take a positive message out into communities.”

Schools will be provided with information around hate crime awareness to read out in school assemblies during this week.

A link to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) hate crime education package will also be sent out for use in lessons during the week.

Information gained during the operation will be used to plan future activities and hate crime work.