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HCOs PC Ishaq and PC Bailey

 

Hertfordshire HCOs PC Irfan Ishaq and PC Sam Bailey, pictured below, explain more about their roles.

 

Hate Crime Officers Irfan Ishaq and Sam Bailey

The first thing HCOs do at the start of the working day is review all the hate crimes and hate incidents in the areas they cover over the previous 24 or 48 hours. They risk asses each incident, make a judgement if any safeguarding measures are required and make contact with the victim.

 

PC Irfan Ishaq covers Welwyn Hatfield which is home to a very large and diverse student population with more than 150 nationalities.

 

“We tend to follow the news,” says PC Ishaq. “Events around the world can and do have a very real impact on community tensions here in Hertfordshire.

 

"It doesn’t make much sense but people tend to associate particular events, such as terrorist attacks, with whole communities. Fortunately, the vast majority of people in Hertfordshire don’t hold these views and are tolerant people that live in harmony with people from all backgrounds.”

 

Investigating hate crime has its challenges, particularly with the internet, social media and mobile devices. Like many cyber offences, just because the victim lives in Hertfordshire, it does not necessarily mean the offender does too.

 

“Hate Crime can have a profound effect on people’s lives,” adds PC Bailey, who is HCO for East Herts and Broxbourne. “And Hertfordshire Constabulary is committed to bringing offenders to justice whilst identifying and responding to victims’ needs.”

 

Hate crime is often under-reported by victims for a variety of reasons. HCOs undertake a lot of work to engage with different communities in order to break down the barriers to reporting.

 

“The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community can be difficult to reach,” says PC Bailey. “For many people, whatever their sexual identity, their sexuality is a very private matter and they don’t want to draw attention to it. Confidentiality is important to them; however the support we offer to all hate crime victims is absolutely private.”

 

PC Ishaq added: “What is saddest of all is that there are some groups of people who just accept hate crimes or hate incidents as part of normal life. They think that because they are disabled, people abuse them for that reason. They accept it and don’t realise they can report it and get help."

 

Concluding, PC Ishaq said: “Hate crimes not only have a negative effect on victims but they can also have a corrosive effect on whole communities. Take racist graffiti for example, it is of course highly offensive to the victim and will increase their sense of mistrust which could even develop into paranoia.

 

"But other people will often see it too and most right-minded people will feel uneasy knowing that there is someone in their community who has done that. It spreads negativity and ill feeling, and as a result everyone suffers.”