CPS Wessex and Hampshire Constabulary team up to deliver interactive hate crime sessions
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During Hate Crime Awareness Week (9-16 October 2021), CPS Wessex and Hampshire Constabulary collaborated on delivering hate crime themed sessions to members of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Youth Commission and the Strategic Youth Independent Advisory Group.
Earlier this week, volunteers from the Youth Commission and Youth IAG were invited to the Police Investigation Centre in Portsmouth where they were able to experience first-hand how a hate crime is investigated by the police.
They were taken through a simulation of a hate crime case, from the moment it is reported to the police and right through the investigation process, including interviews of suspects and witnesses, gathering of evidence and preparing a file to submit to the Crown Prosecution Service for pre-charge advice, with real Police Officers and CPS Prosecutors illustrating their respective roles in the Criminal Justice System.
On Thursday evening (14 October), members were invited to Portsmouth University’s mock courtroom facility where they became the jury, tasked with hearing the trial of the case. CPS Wessex Prosecutors presented the case to the Youth Commission jury in the same way a real case would be conducted, and jurors had to decide whether or not to convict the defendant of Racially Aggravated Criminal Damage.
Suzanne Llewellyn, CPS Wessex Chief Crown Prosecutor, said: “I am delighted that we have worked with Hampshire Constabulary to deliver these important sessions which have highlighted how our Criminal Justice System partners work together to prosecute hate crime.
“Hate Crime Awareness Week 2021 is an important opportunity to raise awareness of the serious impact of hate crime on individuals and our local communities. We will continue to bring the strongest possible cases for prosecution, and we are steadfast in our message that hate crime will not be tolerated.”
Hampshire Constabulary’s Force Community Cohesion Officer, Will Bergstroem, said: “Working alongside our partners to raise awareness of what happens when someone reports a hate crime and the support available is crucial to us. Working alongside the CPS to deliver these sessions has provided an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the work done by both the force and the CPS to tackle hate crime within our communities.
“We’ve had fantastic feedback from the members of the Youth Commission and we’re pleased that these sessions have been a valuable and interesting learning experience to those that attended. This has been a great opportunity for the young people to peek behind the scenes and follow a hate crime through the criminal justice system from start to finish, seeing the continuation through agencies. We’re committed to working alongside our partners on hate crime and supporting victims.”
Portsmouth Chief Inspector Robert Mitchell said: “It’s important to all of us that we’re involved in Hate Crime Awareness Week and we know that hate crimes have a disproportionate impact on victims, their families and the wider community. We want our residents to know that we take all reports of hate crime very seriously and that there is support available for them.
“It is vital that we work with our partners and the local community to support victims, encourage people to report these crimes and ultimately work together to help reduce intolerance in Portsmouth.
“We encourage anyone who suffers hate crime, or receives a serious threat against them to report it to the police, either by calling 101 or online through the True Vision website at www.report-it.org.uk. Always call 999 in an emergency.”