Hampshire Constabulary is joining a campaign to tackle disability hate crimes. ‘Stand By Me’ was launched by the charity Mencap and calls on police forces to show their support for people with learning disabilities.
The campaign asks the police to commit to ten promises that complement the work the constabulary is already doing to protect vulnerable people.
The force will be signing the pledge this Saturday (May 19) at FestAble in Totton, a festival to celebrate the skills, talents and creativity of people with a learning disability.
Deputy Chief Constable Andy Marsh is the constabulary’s lead Disability Champion. “It’s part of our mission to ensure that people with a learning disability are able to live free from the fear of crime,” he said, “and there’s been a lot of work over the last year within the force to raise awareness and improve the service we provide to disabled people.
“We’ve established a network of dedicated and committed police staff and officers who work as disability champions to engage with the community. We regularly run road shows where people with a disability can meet with the police and break down some of the barriers or concerns people might have about approaching officers.
“There’s a lot of work ongoing at the moment to make sure that as an organisation we’re properly identifying when a victim has been targeted because of disability, that our officers and staff have the tools and the training to respond appropriately and that our communities can get in touch with us in a way that’s right for them.
“Signing Mencap’s pledge reinforces this work and demonstrates our commitment to protecting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”
Hampshire Constabulary will work with Mencap to develop practical guidance and highlight any adjustments needed to support victims with a learning disability.
Dan Scorer, Mencap’s campaigns manager, said: “Many police services are doing good work, and their response is getting better. Through the ‘Stand by me’ campaign we want to make sure that all police services are following the example set by the best services. We welcome Hampshire Constabulary’s commitment to constantly strive to uphold these standards and help end disability hate crime in a generation.”
For more information and to show your support for the ‘Stand By Me’ campaign and charter visit www.mencap.org.uk/standbyme
If you’ve been the victim of crime because of disability, whether it’s you yourself, a carer, or friend or relative who has a disability, it’s important to us that you report it to the police. Call us on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
You can also follow Hampshire Constabulary’s Disability Champions on Twitter @DisabilityChamp.
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