Hate crime and hate incidents

“It is totally unacceptable that people should suffer abuse or harassment, or be targeted because of their rzero-tolerance to hate crime logoace, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation or their gender identity. Hate Crime has a harmful and lasting effect on its victims, as it seeks to attack an intrinsic part of who a person is.

It is our commitment to identify, protect and safeguard all vulnerable people within our communities and we look to celebrate the diverse make up of our society.

It is a matter of priority that we raise awareness and enhance society’s understanding of hate crime and as such we are proud to be involved with the new hate crime campaign ‘Zero Tolerance to Hate Crime’.

Our message is loud and clear, everyone has the right to feel safe – we promote a zero tolerance approach to Hate Crime.”

Chief Superintendent Jim Colwell
Commander for Devon, Devon and Cornwall Police
September 2016
Twitter logo (a blue bird)#ZeroTolerance2Hate

Everyone needs security, confidence and respect to live their life to the full. We all have a right to live our lives in peace and with dignity at home, at work or in the street.  To help ensure that everyone is safe, Devon County Council supports the police and other agencies to raise awareness of Hate Crime and encourage reporting.

We recognise that prejudice related crimes and incidents cause a great deal of suffering for victims, and for their friends and families, as well as undermining cohesion in the community. We recognise that Hate Crime is as much of a problem in Devon as it is in other parts of the UK.

As a public authority we are also bound by the Public Sector Equality Duty (Part 11 of the Equality Act 2010) and more specifically the duty to give due regard to the need to foster good community relations (tackle prejudice and promote understanding). We are committed, through the Safer Devon Partnership, to tackling the problem of prejudice and Hate Crime across the whole county.

Reporting Hate Crime and Hate Incidents

Devon and Cornwall Police encourage reports of all hate crimes and incidents and are keen for these to be reported at the earliest opportunity.  The Police urge communities, key networks and independent advisors to work with them to report incidents and ensure that anyone who may be a victim of such unwanted behaviour will receive the help and support they need.

To report an incident or crime you can use the following routes:


  • Telephone: 999
  • SMS/Text: 999 – if you are Deaf/hard of hearing or speech impaired.

Non Emergency

  • Telephone: 101
  • SMS/Text: 67101 – if you are Deaf/hard of hearing or speech impaired.
  • Use the Report function on the Devon and Cornwall Police website

To make a ‘third party’ report visit http://www.report-it.org.uk/report_a_hate_crime

You can also report in person at any police station.

Other ways of reporting

If you, or anyone you know, has been a victim of a Hate Crime then please report it.

Too many hate crimes go unreported, leaving the offenders free to commit similar crimes again, whether against you or other members of our community. We understand that you might feel nervous about reporting it, but your information is vital to help us eliminate Hate Crimes.

Even if you don’t want it to go to court – please report it.

Even if you don’t want to give your name – please report it. You can remain anonymous if you want and give as much or as little information as you wish. What you tell us will help to provide a true picture of what is happening within our community.

  • What is Hate Crime?

    A Hate Crime is any criminal offence where the victim or anyone else (e.g. a witness) believes that the victim has been targeted because of their:

    • disability
    • race, nationality or ethnic identity
    • religion/ belief
    • gender identity
    • sexual orientation
    • age

    It is worth noting that this list is not exclusive: some people may be victims of hate crime because of other identifying features. Sophie Lancaster, for example, was picked on, attacked and murdered in 2007 because of the way she was dressed.

    Hate Crime can include:

    • verbal abuse
    • physical assault
    • threatening behaviour
    • offensive graffiti
    • harassment
    • malicious communications by phone, text, email or social media
    • damage to property and violence

    Hate Incidents are incidents motivated by prejudice which have caused alarm or distress to the victim but which fall short of being a criminal offence.

  • Cyber Hate Crime and the Internet

    Cyberbullying is on the increase and it is important that you know what to do if you, or someone you know, becomes a victim of abuse via phone, text, email or social networking.

    Cyberbullies often feel anonymous and safely distanced from an incident when it takes place online.

    • If you, or someone you know, has been a victim, please report it.
    • Keep any messages or material received.
    • Avoid retaliating; or even responding.

    For information and advice on online safety, visit this website.

    Although there is a lot of material on the internet that some people find offensive, the majority of it is not breaking any laws. We have to find a way to achieve a balance between maintaining our freedom of expression and protecting people from Hate Crime.

    However, In England and Wales it can be an offence to stir up (incite) hatred on the grounds of:

    • Race
    • Religion and belief
    • Sexual Orientation

    Further guidance on what you can do about online hate material.

  • Raising Awareness of Hate Crime

    National Hate Crime Awareness Week takes place during October and the County Council supports and publicises events in partnership with the Police and Voluntary/Community Sector. But we also plan to continue raising awareness throughout the year so that it remains at the forefront of people’s minds.

    Use #ZeroTolerance2Hate on Twitter.

Reporting Direct and Indirect Discrimination 

Direct or Indirect Discrimination (including harassment) arises where a service, organisation, or employer treats someone less favourably because of a protected characteristic of age, gender identity or sex, disability, pregnancy/maternity, race/ethnicity, religion/belief or sexual orientation.  Find out more on report an incident.