Hate crime awareness campaign launched at local community centre

Date published: 12 February 2018

A hate crime awareness campaign was launched at a local community centre during Hate Crime Awareness week (5 - 11 February).

Deeplish Community Centre organised the event on Monday 5 February in partnership with police and Rochdale Borough Council’s Community Safety Team.

Hate crime is any crime that is targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards that persons for any of the following reasons: disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, alternative subculture, trans and gender reassignment.

Mayor of Rochdale, Ian Duckworth welcomed everyone and opened this year’s hate crime awareness event, saying: “We are proud to launch this campaign and be part of a national campaign to promote safer neighbourhoods, working with organisations and individuals who are committed to community cohesion, peace and tolerance. We are proud of our Borough that has always supported our communities.”

A detailed presentation about hate crime was then given to those attending by Sergeant Daniel Shirazi from GMP. He explained what hate crime is, what to do if you are victim of a hate crime and how to report such incidents.

Hate crimes can be reported via the police non-emergency 101 number (in an emergency, always dial 999), online on the Report It website or alternatively, independent charity Crime Stoppers can also be contacted on 800 555 111.

GMP’s Inspector Darren Callaghan said: “It is vital that the public have the confidence to report all forms of hate crimes, so that we can bring an end to prejudice and discrimination in communities. This campaign is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the different types of hate crimes, and demonstrate how necessary and vital it is that communities group together to report and stamp out all forms of hate crime.”

Speeches were also given by Deputy Mayor Councillor Mohammed Zaman, Councillors Aasim Rashid and Sameena Zaheer, youth officer Mohammed Zarafat and Carlo Schroder from the council’s community safety team.

Deputy Mayor Councillor Mohammed Zaman highlighted the importance of reporting hate crimes and importance of multicultural and cohesive society. He also emphasised that we need to promote peace, love and social harmony and this can eliminate hate and crime in our communities.

He added: “Our neighbourhood is very popular and everyone wants to move into this area due to public confidence, friendly neighbourhoods where everyone is connected and close to each other.”

Councillor Aasim Rashid explained one of his roles is representing Rochdale in the Greater Manchester Crime Commissioner’s office. He emphasised the current cuts putting pressure on public services like Greater Manchester Police and highlighted the need for more police officers to tackle crimes and protect communities.

Councillor Rashid said: “We are proud of our town and are fully committed to promote peace and cohesion in all walks of life.”

Councillor Zaheer spoke about various forms of hate crimes and reasons why it occurs in our communities.

She said: “We must report every crime to police and log it. In order to stamp on these crimes, we must learn and promote how to report it: this is an ideal opportunity to promote reporting crimes and dealing with all kind of hate crimes.”

Mohammed Zarafat, a youth officer from Rochdale Youth Service, spoke about how young people have taken action against hate crime in Greater Manchester and made a DVD, which will be taken to local schools and youth groups, to highlight the importance of peace, love and community cohesion.

Sohail Ahmad, operations manager at Deeplish Community Centre, said: “We are pleased to see how successful today’s event has been. We are grateful for Rochdale Council for their continued support in promoting and improving community relations.

“By way of reporting crimes, we are promoting justice and reducing crimes. Deeplish is one of the hate crime reporting centres and anyone can visit Deeplish CC for help and support in reporting hate crime online. We are pleased the conference connected our people, our leaders and organisations in our borough to remain committed in stamping out on hate crimes.”

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