Stopping The Hate
As part of Nick Alston’s commitment to encourage the reporting and stopping of hate crime, he attended a forum to hear people’s first-hand experiences.
On Saturday April 12, the PCC was a guest of The Southend Ethnic Minority Forum (SEMF) at The Tickfield Centre.
‘An Afternoon with the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner’ was opened by the SEMF Vice Chair Chand Sood and continued with a presentation entitled “An Introduction to Hate Crime” by PC Jürgen Reid, Hate Crime Officer with Essex Police at Southend.
The Arc Theatre presented a specially-scripted drama on the themes of race hate, crime and prejudice. In the play, a man’s van had been vandalised by being covered with white paint.
Clifford Oliver, artistic director of the Arc Theatre, said: “His daughter felt that this was a hate crime and that her father and her family were being deliberately singled out; especially as this was not the first attack. She wanted her father to phone the police. He didn’t think the police would be able to do anything, he didn’t want to exacerbate the situation and feared possible reprisals if he was seen to be involving the police.
“At this point the action was stopped and the audience had to supply the actors with both sides of the ensuring argument; regardless of their own opinions. A lively debate followed with both sides being argued with equal vehemence. The daughter won the debate and it highlighted an issue that has real importance to both the police and the community.” It is always right to report hate incidents, even if the police cannot respond immediately.
Q&A with Nick Alston
The drama led into a lively Question & Answer session with the PCC covering a wide range of local policing issues, as well as the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Nick Alston said: “The play by Arc was thought-provoking and highlighted the dilemmas often faced by victims. I understand why victims are sometimes reluctant to report. But if we’re to stop hate crime, police must know where and when it’s happening.
“Chief Inspector Matt Bennett who attended the event emphasised that the force has a real commitment to responding to and investigating hate crime, and the key message of the day was ‘please report incidents to Essex Police’.”
Sandra Wilkes, SEMF’s Secretary commented, “Our grateful thanks go to Nick and the PCC office for their support of this successful event. We had a lot of positive feedback from members who were very appreciative of the fact that some serious local policing concerns were able to be aired and discussed in a spirit of friendly goodwill and co-operation.”