Council signs up to hate crime pledge

Signing of the Hate Crime Pledge are Councillor Cath Johnstone, Council leader and chairman of the Midlothian Community Planning Partnership, and Inspector Ian Moffat (Prevention & Tackling Inequalities).
Signing of the Hate Crime Pledge are Councillor Cath Johnstone, Council leader and chairman of the Midlothian Community Planning Partnership, and Inspector Ian Moffat (Prevention & Tackling Inequalities).

Midlothian Council held two special events to coincide with National Hate Crime awareness week, which ran from October 8-15.

The week aimed to challenge all forms of hate crime and discrimination and to raise the reporting of hate crime. Hate crime is any incident which could be perceived as being motivated by hostility or prejudice towards any aspect of a person’s identity. This covers race, identified gender, disability, ethnicity or sexuality.

The first event examined disability hate crime and featured a short film by People First, a support organisation for people with learning difficulties. This was followed by a question and answer session. The second event was about the faith of Islam and challenged misconceptions of muslim people. This event was hosted in partnership with Lothian Racial Equality Council and Midlothian People’s Equality Group to raise awareness and increase inclusion. Both events led to interesting and lively discussion.

The Midlothian Hate Crime Pledge was also signed at Midlothian Council.

Councillor Cath Johnstone, Council leader and chairman of the Midlothian Community Planning Partnership, signed the pledge devised by Police Scotland on behalf of all the public, voluntary and private sector partners. Inspector Ian Moffat (Prevention & Tackling Inequalities) signed it on behalf of Police Scotland.

The Pledge states:

We are proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society.

Racism, prejudice against people from other countries, and hate crime have no place in Midlothian. Our Council condemns racism and hate crime.

We will not allow hate to become acceptable.

We reassure all people living in Midlothian that they are valued members of our community.

Councillor Bryan Pottinger, Midlothian Council Equalities Champion, said: ​“There has been an increase in race hate crimes in the UK in the wake of the Brexit vote. Xenophobia and Islamophobia are on the rise. Hate crime based on sexual orientation is the second most common type of hate crime. It is vital that people of all backgrounds who have witnessed or suffered from verbal or physical abuse come forward and report it so this type of behaviour can be challenged. Midlothian Council has a history of challenging and opposing discrimination for example we took a stand against apartheid in South Africa through the sixties to the eighties. It’s vital we continue to oppose it at home and not be complacent.”

For further information about hate crime in Midlothian, contact Equalities Engagement Officer Erin Cuthbertson on 0131 271 3358.