New “victim hubs” have been opened in Dewsbury and Batley to support those affected by crime.
Their introduction coincides with the publication of a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), which focuses on hate crime in the UK.
The HMICFRS Hate Crime Thematic Report has highlighted how police forces – including West Yorkshire Police – encourage reporting of hate crimes.
Now Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police & Crime Commissioner, has announced his own zero tolerance approach to the phenomenon.
Praising officers, staff, volunteers and community representatives who have worked together across the country, he said the report highlighted good practice.
“I made tackling hate crime a priority in my Police and Crime Plan early on, including recognising hate incidents and working with partners to prevent escalation,” he said.
“It’s reassuring to see that the HMICFRS report highlights a number of areas where our approach in West Yorkshire is seen as good practice.”
He added: “Suffering hate just because of who you are is completely unacceptable and is something we absolutely do not tolerate in West Yorkshire.
“If you have experienced hate crime please report it to the police or a partner organisation and you will be listened to and receive the appropriate support.”
The Victim Hubs that have opened at Jo Cox House in Batley and within Dewsbury Customer Service Centre have been designed to offer support and provide a safe local place for vulnerable victims and witnesses after experiencing a crime.
Specially-trained staff and volunteers will offer free confidential, emotional and practical support and information.
They will complement a similar operation at the Brian Jackson Centre in Huddersfield which was initially developed with funding from Mr Burns-Williamson.
Both sites are already operating. The Dewsbury hub will open from 10am to 4pm on Wednesdays and its Batley counterpart on Mondays at the same times.
Carol Gilchrist, Kirklees Council’s Head of Communities, said: “These hubs are an important part of what Safer Kirklees does. We are committed to not only reducing crime, but also offering the best possible support to victims and witnesses of crime when it has taken place.”