Herts police target schoolchildren for hate crime lessons
Primary school pupils are being taught how to report hate crimes as part of an education programme supported by Herts police.
The Herts Against Hate collaborative, which includes the constabulary, county council and partners, launched the free teaching unit for schools to use in PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) lessons or relationships and sex education and health education classes.
It was produced by Herts for Learning (HfL) Wellbeing Team on behalf of the County Community Safety Unit (CCSU) and is described as "an ideal resource for schools ahead of Hate Crime Awareness Week in the autumn".
It claims "an age-appropriate series of lessons and resources" for Key Stage 2 pupils in Years 5 and 6, who are aged nine to 11, and students at secondary schools in KS3 who are in Years 7 to 9 and aged 11 to 14.
Detective Chief Inspector Pete Frost, Hertfordshire police's hate crime lead, said: "We want young people to grow up knowing that hate crime is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Hertfordshire and you should report it, not ignore it.
"The impact of hate crime can be devastating. It can cause people to lose their confidence and be fearful about coming and going from their home, being out and about in public places or just going about their daily lives."
Cllr Morris Bright, cabinet member for community safety at the county council, said: "We want to make Hertfordshire safer for everyone, rejecting hatred and violence of all kinds. The lesson resources are a simple way of teaching children about hate crime, how to report it and showing understanding and empathy to victims."
Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd, whose office leads the Hertfordshire Hate Crime Partnership Board, said: "I recognise the challenges in relation to the under-reporting of hate crime, particularly relating to disability, and the increased use of cyber, including social and digital media, as a means to target and exploit the vulnerable.
"We must ensure we continue to work together to prevent hate crime and bring offenders to justice, while also giving victims the confidence to report the crime, allowing them to cope and recover."
UK law recognises five types of hate crime on the basis of race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity. Any crime can be prosecuted as a hate crime if the offender has demonstrated or been motivated by hostility based on at least one of the five protected characteristics.