It was in May 2014 that I posted this article about Disability Hate Crime, having previously filed a Freedom of Information Inquiry with Police Scotland, which related specifically to the North –East & Aberdeen.
At that time during the process of obtaining statistics, I came into contact with a Police Inspector who subsequently visited the Office of AAD on one of our ‘Drop –In’ days (every Wednesday). He was suitably impressed with our set–up and suggested that the confidential process used in our work in helping clients could also be a route for reporting hate crime.
This year, after some time waiting for accreditation, our Office at 84 Spring Garden, Aberdeen has been so accredited by Police Scotland, as a Third Party Reporting Centre. What this means in effect is that our staff are now able to report to Police Scotland occurrences of Hate Crime which are reported to them by clients.
The definition is contained in the Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act 2009 and is not confined to one category.
Police Scotland simplify the legislation by stating:
“Hate Crime is any criminal offence committed against an individual or property that is motivated by a person’s hatred of someone because of his or her actual or perceived race, religion, transgender identity, sexual orientation or disability”
There are several places in Aberdeen that are accredited and the addresses can be found here.
If you have any issues you wish to report, discuss or do not feel happy about reporting directly to the Police, then you can now report the matter through our Office.
There are all kinds of reasons as to why someone would want to report a Hate Crime through a Third Party Reporting Centre like our Office. For example, just having someone supportive and non–judgmental of you or the situation, and who will listen and start the process, can and does help greatly in these situations.
However, in a non–emergency, those who have suffered Hate Crime can always phone direct to 101, if the crime is not life–threatening; or use 999 if the emergency is life-threatening; or call in person at a Police Office, or use Police Scotland’s online Hate Crime Reporting web form themselves here.
Please remember that there are a myriad of situations that may or may not be criminal, and only when the circumstances are reported can someone then help you. No one is going to “get in trouble” for reporting Hate Crime, or because they are unsure if a Hate Crime has occurred. The only people who can decide that are Police Scotland.
The Police Scotland web form will only be received during Office Hours, and does not address any ongoing immediate help you may need, for which you should phone direct.
Police Scotland give this advice on when to use 101 or 999:
“What should 101 be used for?
You should call 101 if you want to talk to your local police officer, get crime prevention advice, or report a crime that does not need an emergency response, for example:
• if your car has been stolen
• your property has been damaged
• you suspect drug use or dealing
• you want to report a minor traffic collision, or
• you want to give the police information about crime in your area
If I am deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment, can I call 101?
• If you are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or speech-impaired then you can access the service via Text Relay on 1 800 1 101.
Does 101 replace 999?
• No. 101 is the number to use to contact the police in situations that do not need an immediate response. 999 is still the number to call when an immediate response is needed – when a crime is in progress, when someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when a life is in danger or when violence is being used or threatened.
What happens if I call 101 but it is an emergency situation?
• If you call 101 and it is deemed to be an emergency, or during the call your situation becomes an emergency, Service Centre staff are fully trained to deal with all emergency and non-emergency situations.
• Always dial 999 when an immediate response is needed – when a crime is in progress, when someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when a life is in danger or when violence is being used or threatened. “