COLUMN: Help us win the fight against hate crime by Alan Charles

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Protecting people from harm is a priority for every force but when the threat is hidden, it becomes much more difficult to intervene.

As commissioner, I want to see trust and confidence in our service so that victims don’t suffer in silence.

Nowhere is this more urgent than hate crime which continually threatens to undermine relationships, divide our communities and perpetuate fear.

Derbyshire is a vibrant county and home to many cultures and nationalities.

It’s vital that we build a tolerant, inclusive society and one in which victims of injustice have the courage to report their experiences to police.

Taking robust enforcement action is important but it’s also necessary for us to step up the support available to encourage greater numbers of victims to speak out.

Hate crime often occurs in public places in full view of other residents.

Residents have an important role to play too in keeping hate crime off our streets by reporting the incidents that they witness.

Don’t stand by and let it happen. The actions of just one person can end a cycle of hate and we need everybody to stand together. Another hidden crime that is threatening the safety of our communities is cybercrime.

Increasingly, offenders are hiding behind technology to commit their crimes and are homing in on elderly or vulnerable people who they perceive to be easy targets.

A new joint initiative between Citizens Advice, Derbyshire County Council, Trading Standards and Age UK Derby and Derbyshire aims to raise awareness among elderly people of the potential risks of mass-marketing, internet, doorstep and telephone scams.

Recently, Trading Standards revealed that ‘easy target’ lists had been shared among criminal gangs across the world and contained the names of more than 300 scam victims in Derbyshire.

This has resulted in repeated contact by fraudsters to scam victims.

The new service, which has benefited from £25,000 from my Crime Prevention Fund, will involve visits to known victims to deliver one-to-one advice and support to protect them from future financial losses.

Please report any concerns you have to the police.