Merseyside Police has joined forces with Everton Football Club to urge people to take a stance against hate crime.
Ahead of the launch of the force’s Hate Crime Awareness Week this weekend officers from Merseyside Police’s Sigma Hate investigation Unit and public protection unit will visit Goodison Park today (Wednesday 5th October), to help educate stewards and other fan facing staff at the club on how to identify, challenge and report hate crime.
Detective Constable Tracy O’Hara and Detective Constable Dominique Walker will deliver a ‘pop-up’ training session to head and deputy head stewards, box office and fan services staff with the training to be rolled out to the club’s remaining stewards during the club’s international break in November.
The training will focus on what hate crime is and what can be done to prevent it and tackle it together with real life ‘what would you do?’ scenarios. The sessions will also include inputs from the Anthony Walker Foundation, Stonewall and other agencies who will be invited as guest speakers.
It is hoped that the Force will be able to roll out the training sessions to other sports clubs and organisations across Merseyside.
A number of Everton FC players have also been pictured with a ‘Help Stop Hate’ board to reinforce the awareness message.
Merseyside Police takes the issue of hate crime very seriously and the purpose of hate crime awareness week is to educate people about what constitutes a hate crime and encourage them to come forward if they have been a victim so prompt action can be taken.
Assistant Chief Constable Ian Critchley said: “We know that hate crime goes hugely under-reported. It comes in a lot of different guises but we recognise the impact that it has on individuals and communities and I want to reassure people that it is an issue that we take very seriously and victims will be dealt with sensitively.
“We work closely with a number of partner agencies to help give people the confidence to report if they are a victim and there are a number of third party reporting centres across Merseyside, such as fire stations, citizens advice bureaus and hospitals, where people may feel more comfortable discussing the issue with an independent party.
“I am delighted that Everton Football Club has agreed to work with us in helping raise awareness of such an important issue.
“I know that Everton already does a lot of work as a club to support all of its fan base and I am pleased that they have joined with us to get the message out that hate crime will not be tolerated on their terraces and will be challenged.”
Gill Derbyshire, Everton Football Club’s Head of Fan Services said: “Our stewards, box office staff and fan services teams are already regarded as the best in the Premier League from the Match Attender and other annual surveys conducted. This training is an opportunity to further reinforce that hate crime will not be tolerated at Everton whether that be in the stands, on the streets or in the workplace. Equality and diversity are fundamental principals at the core of this Club and it is through such training that the Club can maintain its commitment to tackling all incidents and crimes motivated by hostility and prejudice against an identifiable group such as race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender, disability age or gender.”
As a football club, Everton have openly been leading the way in ensuring the Club’s stance on hate crime is vocal and unequivocal. Members of Everton’s first team, under 23’s, ladies and disability teams recently recorded a special message which is played out on the big screen and in the concourses at every match day to showcase the diverse nature of players representing the Club at every level. The club were also recently awarded the Intermediate Level of the Premier League’s Equality Standard, a measure of Everton’s work around inclusion and anti-discrimination in the game with the Club aiming to progress forward to achieve the Advanced award.
In the last 12 months Everton has signed up to the autism charter, singed the Time to Change pledge to tackle discrimination and the stigma associated with mental health, delivered equality, diversity and inclusion training to all its staff, become the first football club to appoint a disability access officer and operate a staff working group leading on equality, diversity and inclusion issues.
Gill added: “We look forward to continuing to learn and sharpen our understanding of the key issues surrounding hate crime and this training will give our fan facing staff the continued confidence of knowing how to deal with a hate crime situation if it arises.”
To report a hate crime contact Merseyside Police on 999, in an emergency or 101. Stop Hate UK can also be contacted by calling 0800 138 1625.
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