A new plan to tackle hate crime across Kirklees has been officially launched.
The council is working with key partners including the police, Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing, health services and local communities to put the strategy into action, with a focus on the next three years.
Priorities include having a service that is victim focussed and protects everyone equally, preventing hate crime, supporting victims of hate crime, effective action against perpetrators and improving community engagement and confidence.
West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, marked the launch of the Kirklees Hate Crime Strategy 2017-2020 by signing the Hate Crime Charter at an event at the Brian Jackson Centre, Huddersfield.
Mr Burns-Williamson was joined by Cllr Masood Ahmed, Kirklees Council Cabinet Member for Community Cohesion and Schools, and Chief Superintendent Steven Cotter from West Yorkshire Police.
Cllr Ahmed said: “Tackling hate crime is a key priority for Kirklees. Nobody should have to live with its consequences and, along with our partners, we are committed to the clear message that it won’t be tolerated.
“Challenging the attitudes behind hate crime and celebrating diversity emphasise that there is a zero tolerance approach to such views and behaviours.
“Hate crimes can relate to race, religion, disability or sexual orientation. None are acceptable in any way.
“This new strategy aims to help us all in resolving issues and tensions especially community tensions, before they manifest into hate crimes.”
District Commander for Kirklees, Chief Superintendent Steve Cotter, said: “West Yorkshire Police continues to highlight the need for victims or witnesses to report hate crime to the police whether a crime has been committed or not.
“The reporting of hate crime has increased nationally in the past few years and this is due to a greater public awareness of hate crime and changes in recording and reporting practices.
“Hate fuelled behaviour has no place in our communities and we all have a part to play in challenging it. It is vital that people have the confidence to come forward and tell us if they have either been a victim of or witnessed, such behaviour. We take every report extremely seriously and will investigate thoroughly, putting support in place for the victim and ensuring that appropriate action is taken.
The police play a key enforcement role within the Kirklees Hate Crime Strategic Group which has a collective agenda to raise awareness of what hate crime is, how it can be reported and what support is available for our communities.”