Meet The Beat – Andrew Bolland, New Business Manager, Stop Hate UK
When it comes to police work it’s important to recognise that much of our success can be attributed to the fact that we work closely with other agencies. The fire and ambulance services, social services and the council are obvious examples, although equally as important are the many independent charities that we work alongside each day.
I’m keen to use these ‘Meet The Beat’ interviews to not only introduce people from different roles in the police, but also to show the range of other groups that we engage with, in order to show that addressing crime is a group effort.
Stop Hate UK is one of the charities that help support our ambition to fight hate crimes by providing education on the matter and offering victims support when it comes to reporting hate crimes. In this interview I speak to Andy Bolland, New Business Manager for Stop Hate UK, about the service that they offer.
Okay Andy, you’re the first person I’ve interviewed for a Meet The Beat interview who’s not ‘in the job’ so to speak – can you tell us a little about your background?
I have lived in West Yorkshire Yorkshire all my life and started work for Rolls Royce Plc as an apprentice engineer too many years ago to mention. This was in the days when use of inappropriate language was fairly typical and I look back now realising how inappropriate this “banter” was and how it must have caused real offence to the people who were subjected to such behaviour.
Since then I have worked for Victim Support, West Yorkshire Police and now Stop Hate UK. In all these rolls my main aim was providing support to victims and witnesses of crimes to ensure that their journey through the criminal justice system was as good as good as possible. It is hard to come forward when you are a victim of crime and I feel the least agencies can do is provide effective support to people who take this step.
So you work for Stop Hate UK – can you give us an overview of what your charity aims to do?
The charity’s aim is to raise awareness of Hate Crime, the impact on victims, families and communities and to encourage people to report incidents in order that they can access assistance and support. We provide a free and independent 24 hour Help Line that operates in a number of areas of the country to compliment other local reporting methods e.g. direct to police or via Hate Incident Reporting Centres. The service is available 24 hours per day in a range of accessible formats including Phone, Text, Text-Relay, Web-chat and online Reporting.
We additionally provide training and awareness sessions to a wide range of organisations to increase awareness of Hate Crime. This can be delivered to any organisation to provide understanding that will enable delegates to recognise such incidents and advise victims on there options regarding support and reporting.
What exactly is a hate crime then? Who can be a victim of hate crime?
A Hate Crime is any incident which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility based on Race, Religion, Disability, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
Anybody can be a victim of a Hate Crime as everybody can be targeted relative to these Hate Crime strands. People can also be victimised due to their connections to other people or groups, for example a carer for somebody with a disability, may be a victim of a Disability Hate Crime if they are specifically targeted for this relationship.
It is important to realise that Hate Crime is about perception, so victims can feel they have been a victim of Hate Crime regardless of their own identity and personal characteristics.
How can people use your charity to make a report of a hate crime?
People can report incidents 24 hours a day via the methods mentioned earlier. When contacting the service, calls will be assisted by trained operators who deal specifically with Hate Crime. They will receive immediate advice and distance support at the time of reporting. Operators will also discuss options for sharing details of the incident with other agencies such as West Midlands Police and other independent organisations.
If the caller gives consent to share information, Stop Hate UK will pass details to specific contacts in partner agencies who will then be able to investigate the incident and provide ongoing local support. The service is confidential so if callers do not wish information to be shared with other agencies, no personal details will be passed to other agencies.
You have specific reporting services operating in Walsall and Wolverhampton – can you tell us a little more about these?
The Stop Hate Line is mentioned above is provided in a number of areas across the country including Walsall and Wolverhampton. This provides an additional service that compliments other local reporting methods, enabling local agencies to support victims and communities.
Sadly at this moment in time we are not commissioned to provide the service in other areas of the West Midlands, so people wishing to report incidents outside Walsall and Wolverhampton are recommended to report directly to the Police or via other local reporting services. If you would like to consider developing the service within other areas please call Stop Hate UK on 0113 293 5100
Do you think that hate crime is under-reported? If so, what might be the reasons for this?
Whilst it is impossible to state conclusively that Hate Crime is under reported, it is widely recognised that far more incidents occur, than are reported . This under reporting relates to all strands of Hate Crime so is not specific to one reason. Frequent reasons that are identified for under reporting include Lack of awareness of Hate Crime, Fear, Lack of confidence, Feeling isolated, Mistrust of statutory agencies, Victims who have become normalised to certain behaviours, compromising peoples privacy, cultural issues, communication difficulties and simply not knowing how or where to report.
The picture is not all bad, whilst under reporting exists over 52,000 incidents were reported to police in the last available statistics, a higher level of reporting than in many comparable counties…we need to do more though and through services such as Stop hate Line we aim to increase peoples options regarding reporting.
How can people help Stop Hate UK? Are you looking for volunteers?
People can help Stop Hate UK in many ways. First and foremost when you come across Hate Crime report it…this can be anything from Graffiti to witnessing assaults. If you can, encourage victims to report incidents and seek support….use the Help Line it is free and confidential and a first step to accessing support. If you are able to promote the service to others please do so, we have a range of free to download posters that can be displayed to raise awareness of our work.
Equally we encourage volunteering within the organisation, particularly for people prepared to give up some of their time to take calls and support others.
You can also become a member of Stop Hate UK to keep up to date with our work and show support for the aims of the organisation. Equally as a charity we always welcome donations of any size that allows us to develop our work. Have a look at our website www.stophateuk.org to find out more or join us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Do you also offer training for people about hate crime? Who do you work with?
We deliver training to a wide range of groups including within schools, statutory agencies, housing providers and community based groups. Whilst we normally have to charge for delivery of training sessions, please fee free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your particular needs.