Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer Nigel Williams, Area Manager Stuart Horth and Cabinet Member for Public Protection at Norfolk County Council Dan Roper are next week (Monday 3 March) signing the ‘Hate Free Norfolk Pledge’ outside Carrow Fire Station, Trowse, Norwich.
Public and Voluntary/Community Sector organisations in Norfolk recently agreed to establish a Hate Free Norfolk Network (replacing the Multi Agency Protocol on Hate Crime or MAP). These include Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, Norfolk County Council and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk.
The purpose of the Network is to enable anyone who is interested in knowing about hate crime in Norfolk to be kept informed about what is happening, and also to enable anyone who wants to work towards a Hate Free Norfolk to connect with other people who want to achieve the same thing.
Anyone can join the network, whether they are an organisation, community group or an individual. When they join they will receive a monthly e-newsletter keeping them to up to date with work on Hate Crime in Norfolk.
Anyone can also support the Hate Free Norfolk Pledge, a promise to do something on hate crime. Anyone can sign up to the Pledge, whether a large organisation, a voluntary, community or third sector organisation, a small community group or an individual. The Pledge is a set of seven commitments that supporters can sign up to in order to work together for a Hate Free Norfolk. The most important aspect of the Pledge is to show that everything that Norfolk organisations and people do to promote a Hate Free Norfolk is a positive contribution.
The Pledge states that people will:
- Stand up for the right of everyone in Norfolk to live free from hate
- Address the issues that cause hate
- Challenge attitudes and behaviours that can lead to hate
- Ensure that victims and witnesses are taken seriously and treated with respect
- Make it easy to report hate and support people to do so
- Work with others to raise awareness of the impact of hate
- State the actions that we will take to make this happen
The Hate Free Norfolk Pledge will be officially launched during the week of Monday 3 – Saturday 8 March but anyone can sign up now and be part of the Network.
Chief Fire Officer Nigel Williams explains why he is signing the pledge on Monday: “Hate incidents or hate crime can have a significant impact on victims’ lives. It can isolate and exclude individuals, cause tension and even conflict in the wider community.
“I am signing the Hate Free Norfolk Pledge both on behalf of NFRS and as an individual who is committed to making Norfolk Hate Free. I would therefore urge everyone to consider backing the campaign by signing the Hate Free Norfolk Pledge.”
It is hoped that once people sign the Pledge they will then use the resources on the Hate Free Norfolk Pledge website to raise awareness in their local school, community group or at work.
Nigel Williams will be encouraging NFRS staff to sign the Pledge. Information will be available internally about hate incidents and includes clear guidance about:
- What constitutes a hate incident/crime
- What motivates hate incidents and who can be a victim
- The impact on victims and witnesses
- The different ways in which hate incidents can be reported
- The benefits and importance of reporting hate incidents and the support available
- Hate Free Norfolk – what the Pledge entails and how they can support the pledge personally
People can experience hate because of an actual or perceived aspect of themselves, their appearance or lifestyle or because of who they associate with. This includes age, disability, cultural, ethnic, national or racial origin, gender, religion and sexual orientation.
Cllr Dan Roper said: “It is vital that we work together to support people to report hate incidents and everyone of us helps to address the issues that cause hate.
“I am pleased that Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is backing this campaign and staff will be working both within the organisation and externally to help people understand more about difference and inclusion.
“As well as signing the Pledge, I would ask people to help spread the word by holding a community event. They can then encourage people to report hate crime as well as helping them to do it. They can also encourage others to hold discussions about hate crime in their school, place of work or community group.
“Hate hurts everyone so anything Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, Norfolk County Council, and the residents of Norfolk can do to help wipe out hate the better.”
In addition to the work by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, Norfolk County Council has produced leaflets about the campaign which are available for Norfolk residents to pick up at public buildings such as libraries and community centres across the county. These community buildings will also become ‘reporting centres’ so that people can easily report a hate incident.
Additionally there is the facility to report a hate incident via Norfolk County Council’s website. The County Council is also encouraging all staff to complete Hate Crime E-learning courses to find out more about the Hate Free Norfolk campaign.