ots-marcus collins hate crime police southport ots onthespot ots otsnews.co.uk_0
Local celebrity Marcus Collins has joined forces with Merseyside Police to raise awareness among young people about hate crime.
Marcus, 25, from Sefton, was subjected to racial and homophobic abuse and physical assault by three men as he walked his dog through a local park last October.
He reported it to Merseyside Police and the force’s anti-hate crime unit, known as Sigma, successfully investigated the attack.
Ben Shields, aged 22, from Litherland was arrested and charged with racially aggravated common assault and sentenced to four months at South Sefton Magistrates Court and given a five-year restraining order.
On Friday, a video featuring Marcus, Merseyside Police’s Chief Constable Jon Murphy, Dominique Walker, and members of various anti-hate crime organisations will be shown for the first time to pupils at Sacred Heart school in Crosby, where Marcus once studied.
It will also be given to local councils across Merseyside to be shown in other schools as well as to the other emergency services, NHS organisations, charities and support groups in a bid to raise awareness of what a hate crime is and how someone can report it.
The Force’s You Tube page will also play it and Marcus intends to tweet a link to it to his thousands of followers.
Chief Constable Jon Murphy, said: “Merseyside Police takes hate crime extremely seriously. We have specially-trained officers with experience in dealing with all types of hate crime. Hate crimes are under-reported but I want to reassure victims that reporting it doesn’t mean you will have to go to court – there are other ways to deal with it. There is a great deal of support and advice available – please don’t suffer in silence.”
In the video, Marcus, who came 2nd in the 2011 X-Factor show, tells viewers: “I have been a victim of hate crime. I was discriminated against because of the colour of my skin and my sexuality. This should not be happening. It’s 2013. We’re  here to make a positive change and raise awareness that this is no longer acceptable. We are all equal.”
Dominique Walker, whose brother Anthony was murdered in a racist attack in Huyton in 2004, adds: “Anthony’s murder devastated my family. We went to the police and they helped us obtain some sort of justice. Hate crime can be anything from physical attacks or initimidation to offensive graffiti and damage to your property or even bullying at school or in the workplace.
“I would encourage people to report it if it happens to them. If you don’t want to tell the police straightaway, you can report it to the Anthony Walker Foundation or Stop Hate UK. Don’t be afraid – there are people out there who can help.”
Other speakers on the video include Dave Kelly, managing director from Daisy UK, a disability equality charity, Rahma Odita-Sani, an education tour guide from the Mulgrave Street mosque in Toxteth, and Penelope, from the Merseyside Independent Advisory Group (MIAG), which advises the police on issues affecting minority groups.
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