The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has signed up to learning disability charity Mencap’s ‘Stand by me’ campaign, as part of its on-going commitment to tackle all forms of hate crime. Mencap’s ‘Stand by me’ campaign calls on police services to commit to a promise to ensure people with a learning disability can live their lives free from the fear of hate crime.
As many as 9 out of 10 people with a learning disability suffer verbal harassment or violence due to their disability, according to Mencap. This is the latest commitment from the MPS as it seeks to improve the way it tackles hate crime. All 32 London boroughs have a dedicated Community Safety Unit with more than 500 specially trained officers across the MPS who investigate hate crime. The MPS has also developed an interactive disability hate crime training package for recruits, holds regular beat meetings, which it ensures are open to disabled people, and uses ‘intermediaries’ and trained specialists interviewers to get the best possible evidence from a victim who has difficulty communicating.
Commander Steve Rodhouse, of the MPS, said: “The Met is committed to tackling all forms of hate crime and recognises the significant impact disability related harassment and crime has on communities. “We know under reporting of hate crime is a significant issue and we are resolutely committed to tackling all forms and categories of these offences. “We work with our partners and other organisations to inform our current policies, staff training and operating procedures and I am very proud of the work we have achieved so far, but of course there is more we can do. “We are committed to fulfilling all 10 points of the charter and we are working with Mencap, disabled people’s organisations and our Disability Independent Advisory Group to further develop how victims can best be supported and to enhance their trust and confidence in the Metropolitan Police.”
Mark Goldring, chief executive of Mencap, added: “We welcome the support of the UK’s largest police force in ensuring that all victims of disability hate crime receive appropriate support and access to justice and we urge all police forces to sign up to our ‘Stand by me’ campaign. “Hate crime is a serious issue for disabled people and their families. Without the full support of the police many disability hate crime victims have been left to suffer in silence.”