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Victims’ of hate crime in Birmingham, who don’t want to report offences to the police, are able to report hate crime to third party reporting centres.

In their latest bid to target offenders and support victims, local officers and partners, who work with businesses in Birmingham’s Gay Village, have created a safe place where people can report violence, abuse and intimidation anonymously.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, visited The Loft on Bromsgrove Street, the latest venue in a growing network of third-party reporting centres, where crimes motivated by the offender’s hatred of people because of their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender can be logged and passed to officers to investigate.

Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, said: “Preventing, tackling and reducing hate crime is a priority for me and for West Midlands Police. It is important that people who are victims of hate crime, have somewhere they can go to feel safe and where they can be listened to.

“Hate crime is abhorrent and it will not be tolerated. I want people to be able to access justice, victim support services and ensure perpetrators are held to account. Third party reporting centres like The Loft, help to make that a reality.”

Since his election, Simon Foster has put in place a new service to provide support to victims of hate crime across the region, offering emotional, personal and practical support to people who have been subjected to hate. He has also put funding in place to provide additional support for LGBTQ+ victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

PC Fiona Dickenson, from the city centre policing team, added: “Tackling hate crimes is a priority for West Midlands Police. We’d encourage victims not to suffer in silence and to speak out by reporting offences big or small.

“While we’d prefer victims to come to us directly, experience tells us that for a variety of reasons, some people do not want to speak with officers, preferring to report crimes anonymously or not at all.

“The danger of not reporting crimes is that if unreported we can’t tackle the issue and, if unchallenged, experience shows that offending can rapidly escalate from minor anti-social behaviour to more serious violent incidents.”

As part of the extensive accreditation process at The Loft, staff and volunteers have undertaken a comprehensive training programme.

Eva Echo, from Birmingham Pride, who has worked with West Midlands Police to set up the centre at The Loft said: “With LGBTQ+ hate crime on the increase, year on year, it’s vital we do all we can to facilitate the reporting of hate crime – especially as it’s well-known that LGBTQ+ hate crime is often underreported. “At The Loft, anybody reporting hate crime can do so discreetly, in a safe environment. Guided by trained members of staff, victims of hate crime will now have a dedicated point of contact and be able to provide valuable feedback, both through reporting and observations.”

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