What is hate crime?Hate crime or incident is any behaviour that you or someone else thinks was caused by hostility, prejudice or hatred of:
- disability - including physical, hearing, visual impairments, mental health problems or learning
- gender identity - people who are transgender, transsexual or transvestite
- race - skin colour, nationality, ethnicity or heritage
- religion, faith or belief - including people without a religious belief and places of worship
- sexual orientation - people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or heterosexual
- physical attacks to people or property
- mimicking or offensive gestures
- threats such as offensive letters or phone calls
- verbal abuse and mimicking
- dumping of rubbish
- disputes with neighbours
- sexual assault
- bullying at work or school and more.
Why should I report hate crime?Hate crimes and incidents hurt; they can be confusing and frightening.
By reporting them when they happen to you, you may be able to prevent these incidents from happening to someone else. You will also help the police understand the extent of hate crime in your local area so they can better respond to it. By reporting hate crime you can get some help and support.
Reporting makes a difference - to you, your friends, and your life
If you’re being repeatedly harassed, should you report all the incidents?
If you've experienced hate crime, it may have been just one isolated incident. But sometimes, you may be repeatedly harassed by the same person or group of people.
It’s best to report all the hate incidents you experience to help the police get the full picture. If you’re in this situation, it may be a good idea to keep a record of the incidents to help you when you contact the police.
How can I report a hate crime?There are several ways you can report a hate crime, whether you have been a victim, a witness, or you are reporting on behalf of someone else:
It is important that all hate crimes and incidents are reported. Reports help us support victims and witnesses and make sure action is taken against perpetrators.
Incidents can be reported to Bedfordshire police via the non-emergency phone number of 101 or you can dial 999 if there is a crime in progress.
All incidents are taken seriously and details can be given in strict confidenceThere are national support groups that can also offer help and advice to you:
Stop Hate UK24 hour helpline: 0800 138 1625
Text: 07717 989 025
Victim SupportHelpline number: 0845 30 30 900
Bullying UKHelpline number: 0808 800 2222
0800 555 111
Why don't people report hate crimes or hate incidents?
People who have suffered hate crimes or hate incidents tell us that there are a number of reasons why they may not have reported their experiences before:
"Incidents happen too often to report each one".
We need to know about every incident to be able to help you and bring an offender to justice. Every incident is important and we can't stop hate crime from happening unless we know the details.
"I don't know if it is serious enough and I don't want it to get worse if I report it to you".
By talking to a support service or the police, experts will be able to help you to understand what has happened and how you can be supported. If you feel something is not right then please tell someone about it.
"The police can't do anything about it, it's just part of my daily life".
It is important that all crimes and incidents are reported so that an investigation can take place. Where there is no criminal evidence and the police cannot take any further action, there are still services available to you to support you through your ordeal.
"I haven't come out to my friends and family, so if I tell you they will all find out".
Neither the police nor any support service will disclose personal information about you to anyone else without your agreement.
"I can't get to the police station and if I could they don't understand me".
Reporting any incident or crime can be done over the phone, by text, by email or in person. Interpreters are available to assist you through national charities, which operate a 24 hour service. Police stations across Bedfordshire have areas where those who are in a wheelchair can talk in private with a police officer. An advocate can support those who would like assistance, or who have a need for an appropriate adult to be with them.