Officers in Nottinghamshire have added their voice to the calls for hate crime to be stopped dead in its tracks – following the spike in racism on social media after the Euros’ final.
In the aftermath of the match on Sunday, racist abuse was targeted at English players following the nail-biting penalty shoot-out, which finally saw Italy win over England.
A pre-planned “Day of Action” campaign is being carried out today in Nottingham by partners, including Nottinghamshire Police, to help stamp out hate crimes by urging the public to report them.
The match at the weekend has showcased just why such crimes need to be called out and dealt with – even if this is on social media channels.
While there is currently no evidence these racist comments were from people living locally, the force is using today’s campaign to help people realise what a hate crime is and how it can be reported and dealt with.
The aim is to build confidence in reporting these crimes to the police, who take this matter seriously. The force has a dedicated team of hate crime officers who work with victims and partner agencies to ensure it relentlessly pursues those offenders, whether their behaviour is overt or covert.
Superintendent Suk Verma, head of contact management and hate crime lead for the force, said: “We stand in solidarity with those players who have been treated in this appalling way.
“All the way through the Euros the England team has behaved impeccably and provided an excellent example in the way they have conducted themselves throughout. That is in sad contrast to the utterly vile comments posted on social media, racially abusing some of the players following Sunday night’s game.
“We are very clear as a force that racism, or any hate crime, should not be tolerated. As a BAME senior officer, father and footballer, I am both appalled and disgusted in what I have read. We all need to stand up against this disease.
“I am proud to come from a city which has such a long history of welcoming different and diverse communities. There is no room for hate against anyone because of the colour of their skin, or because of their culture or the way they look. All protected characteristics are exactly that – protected, which is why as a force we take a very firm line with anyone caught making such hateful comments – whether this is on social media or any other way.
“That is why today we are working with our partners to say there is no place for hate crime and urging people not to put up with it and instead report it into us to stop it.
“I would like to see a time when racists and other peddlers of hate crime have nowhere to air their frankly disgusting views. We want local people to feel safe in their communities, but such hatred can stop them feeling this way.
“The events across the country have saddened and shocked people and we need to all feel empowered to say this is not acceptable and call it out for what it is.”
The day of action, which is centred on a social media campaign aimed at myth busting and ensuring people know how to report hate crime, is being led by the police in partnership with Nottingham City Council and the Safer Nottingham Board.
Myths that are being dispelled include challenging people thinking nothing will be done if they report a hate crime; or that the crime has to include violence or be a serious crime. The partners also want people to understand they do not have to speak English to report it as interpreters are available, and people do not have to be the victim to report a crime.
The hateful comments posted on social media following the Euro 2020 match are being investigated at a national level, where they are being picked up with relevant social media companies.
When an offender’s details are identified, this is passed onto the relevant local force to investigate further and take appropriate action in conjunction with the CPS.
To find out more about how to report a hate crime visit: https://www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/hatecrime