New figures show reports of hate crime in North Yorkshire increased by 40 per cent over the last two years. But I still do not believe the current figures reflect the full scale of the problem and would encourage more people to come forward.
Hate crime can include anything from name calling and verbal abuse to violence. But it is motivated by hostility or prejudice towards an aspect of a person’s identity such as their:
Race, ethnicity or nationality
Religion, faith or belief
In 2015/16, there were 272 reports of hate crime in North Yorkshire, up 39 per cent on 2013/14 when there were 196 reports.
Reports can be made directly to North Yorkshire Police on 101 or 999 if in immediate danger.
If a victim does not want to involve the police, they can report any incidents to Stop Hate UK on 0800 138 1625 or visit stophateuk.org
£20,000 grant for project to support bullied teens
A project to provide learning activities to young people with Asperger’s syndrome has been awarded a £20,000 grant from my Community Fund.
Many of the young people have dropped out of school as a direct result of bullying and have been too traumatised to resume any form of education. However, the Community Fund is support a project called Safe Base which has been set up by the Tang Hall SMART Community Interest Company to address their needs.
“Some of these children haven’t left their bedroom or spoken to anyone for months,” said manager Sue Williamson who used to be a special educational needs co-ordinator at the now closed Burnholme Community college in York.
The project is just one of many supported by the Community Fund which I launched in 2013 and specifically for organisations and community groups who need money to help fund a new community safety project. Projects eligible for grants from £500 to £20,000 include extra-curricular activities for children and young people as well as schemes supporting victims, preventing crime or anti-social behaviour, promoting safety and community cohesion.
I want to make it as easy as possible for people to apply for this money and to be successful in their applications. Anyone interested can call the Community Fund Helpline for guidance by calling 101 and asking for the Community Fund.
No more naming for victims of image-based sexual abuse
New figures from the Crown Prosecution Service revealed that social media is increasingly being used as a way to threaten and control women – including through so-called ‘revenge porn’ in which intimate images are shared without a victims consent.
I have been actively campaigning for victims of this type of image-based sexual abuse to be given anonymity throughout the legal process as a way of encouraging better reporting.
There is evidence that the prospect of being named in the media deters women from both reporting and following through with prosecutions for this type of crime. They need better protection and that’s what my campaign aims to achieve.
Ambulances not police vans for people in mental health crisis
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A report by the National Police Chief Council showed that the number of people detained under the Mental Health Act in a police cell rather than a health-based setting has declined substantially.
This is good news because a cell is the wrong place for someone in mental health crisis and I am pleased that North Yorkshire has introduced four health-based ‘places of safety’ for such people.
However, we need to do more. In particular, I want to see the end of people in crisis being transported in the back of police vans, instead of ambulances. We also need to ensure that vital mental health triage services are maintained.
Advice surgeries - Come and meet me
If you, or someone you know, has a policing or community issue that they would like to discuss in confidence with me, please come along to one of my personal 1:1 surgeries.
3 November - Sherburn in Elmet advice surgery, Eversley Park Centre, Low Garth Rd, LS25 6BA
9 November - Selby advice surgery, Selby Community Centre, Scott Rd, YO8 4BL
6 December - Northallerton advice surgery, Venue to be confirmed
12 December - Knaresborough advice surgery, Venue to be confirmed