It is my belief that initiatives, such as the projects below, are crucial to tackling hate crime early on and promoting inclusive communities where everyone feels safe, regardless of their beliefs, sexual orientation, race, gender identity, or disabilities.
This is why hate crime is one of my commissioning themes, meaning in every commissioning round I actively encourage organisations and communities to apply for grant funding from my Safer Communities Fund for those projects and initiatives that are aimed at tackling hate crime and supporting hate crime victims.
While a rise in any type of crime is a concern, it is important to note that some of the increase seen recently is attributable to improved crime recording over the last five years. Whilst in 2014 only 64% of hate crime incidents were correctly identified as such, the compliance rate is now at 91%. The improved crime recording over a number of years now is reflected in the much lower increases in more recent years: across the Hampshire Constabulary policing area, in 2018/19 there were 456 reported LGBT+ hate crimes compared to 435 the year before (+4.8%); in Portsmouth, there were 80 LGBT+ hate crimes compared to 77 the year before.
In 2017 I invested £50,000 in hate crime third party reporting centres (TPRCs). There are now more than 60 independent TPRCs across the Hampshire policing area, many of them embedded in and led by the communities affected by hate crime, including the LGBT+ community. The centres offer dedicated support and advice to victims. As I am sure you are aware, Hampshire Constabulary also operate a scheme of liaison officers (LAGLOs), who offer dedicated support to every victim of LGBT+ hate crime.
Only this week I have together with Enterprise Rent-a-Car Ltd, Safer North Hampshire, and the Safer Hampshire Business Partnership launched a new business crime guide on hate crime designed to support businesses, managers and employees in dealing with hate crime in the workplace. The collaborative project has seen business, local authorities and crime experts work together to provide comprehensive advice accessible to all businesses in the Hampshire Constabulary policing area and beyond.
Going forward, my team have been involved in developing a new toolkit for all schools in Hampshire, Portsmouth, Isle of Wight and Southampton, to be launched later this year, aimed at helping schools correctly identify, challenge and address prejudicial language and behaviour.