This week, more than a million people tuned into Channel 4’s 999 What’s Your Emergency? focused on the issue of hate crime in our communities.
Like most of you, we continue to be appalled by the actions of the minority when it comes to this type of crime and adopt a zero tolerance approach when dealing with it.
Our message is simple – hate has no place in Wiltshire and nobody has to put up with it.
It is important to reiterate that Wiltshire remains one of the safety counties in the country and this documentary was filmed over the course of several months.
We work extensively with our partner agencies to support anyone who has been a victim of hate crime as well as working hard to prevent it.
We all have a responsibility to educate others on what is unacceptable in our communities and challenge this type of behaviour.
The legal definition of a hate crime is -
"Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender."
We regularly meet with partners via the Hate Crime Multi-Agency Group, chaired by the Police and Crime Commissioner, to discuss what more can be done to combat this type of crime.
We also actively promote the ‘True Vision’ website where hate crime can be reported online. Anyone wishing to leave their details can but this can also be done anonymously.
We are then sent a report the same day for investigation and resolution.
Superintendent for Crime Standards and Justice Adrian Burt said: “I’m glad that last night’s episode is being so widely discussed and debated – this type of behaviour is a criminal offence and that is how we should all view it.
“We want people to know that they will be fully supported, crimes will be investigated and there are teams of specially trained people and agencies who they can turn to for help and advice.
“We want to foster trust and confidence, not only in hard to reach communities, but right across the county so that victims will always know that they will be supported by the Force if they come forward to report a crime.”
Cllr Russell Holland, Deputy Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “In any large town regrettably there will be a very small number of people who commit crimes.
“In Swindon we have a zero tolerance approach to hate crime. While there is still crime which we can never be complacent about, Wiltshire remains one of the safest counties in the country and we work extremely hard to keep it that way.
“Swindon is a great place to live precisely because the overwhelming majority of people are good people who work hard, care for their families and their communities.”
Baroness Jane Scott OBE, Leader of Wiltshire Council said: "Wiltshire is one of the safest counties in the country and is viewed as one of the best places to live and work in.
"Wiltshire Council, working with its partners, has an integrated and comprehensive approach to dealing with hate crime and discrimination in Wiltshire.
" As a partnership, we are focused on raising the awareness of hate crime and encouraging those affected to report incidents so that they can be investigated.
"Working closely with local communities we aim to strengthen cohesion and diversity and condemn any form of hate crime. We want people living in our county to feel safe and to know that these crimes will not be tolerated."
For advice and support, log onto the True Vision website - available here.
If you think you've been affected by hate crime, get in touch. You can call us on 101 or report online via our website. Only call 999 in an emergency.