17/01/2005

Poster campaign highlights hate crimes

A poster campaign aimed at raising community awareness of hate crime was launched today by the PSNI.

The poster carries a simple message 'Hate Crime is Wrong' and carries photographic images representing the four main areas of hate crime – race hate, homophobia, sectarianism/religion and crimes against people with disabilities.

Provisional figures show there were 530 incidents reported between April-December 2004 compared with 346 incidents during the same period the previous year, an increase of 184.

In the April-December 2004 figures, there were 444 racial incidents and 73 homophobic incidents. Over the same period in 2003 there were 299 racial incidents and 47 homophobic ones.

Inspector Robin Dempsey of the Police Service Community Safety Branch said that whilst reports of hate crime to police had increased, there was still an under-reporting of such incidents.

“This poster campaign is one of a number of initiatives which police are using to highlight the nature and impact of hate crime,” he said. “The poster, which has been designed by the PSNI Graphics Unit, puts the issue in stark and simple terms, Hate Crime is Wrong.

“Reporting hate crime is one way of ensuring that further incidents are prevented and offenders held to account and we want to encourage people, whether they are victims of a crime or witnesses to an incident, to report it to police.”

The new campaign will run for the next four weeks in the six District Command Units which have the largest number of hate crimes: South Belfast, North Belfast, Craigavon, Ballymena, Foyle and Dungannon and South Tyrone.

(MB)

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