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Saturday, 6 November 2010

Police hate crime campaign honoured (Northern Ireland, UK)

An anti-hate crime campaign involving police in Northern Ireland has been recognised at an awards ceremony.

Unite Against Hate highlights homophobia, racism, sectarianism and transphobia as well as prejudices involving faith or disability.

It was awarded third place in the diversity in action category at Jane's Review gala awards in London on Thursday. Home Secretary Theresa May presented the awards.

Chief Constable Matt Baggott said: "This is a true illustration of the personal, professional, protective nature of the service.

"We are committed to challenging the issues that communities identify as priority and as these awards recognise, we do so with impartiality and absolute integrity. We will continue in our endeavours to deliver the worlds finest police service."

Unite Against Hate involves several government offices. The online campaign had received more than 3,000 petition signatures. Text messaging has also been used to target more than 15,000 students.

Also recognised were Sergeant Brian Caskey, from north Belfast, who came third in the officer of the year category. He has played a key role in the interface strategy developed to address conflict between the neighbouring communities of Tigers Bay, Newington and New Lodge.

"I am delighted and privileged to have been nominated for this award. This is in recognition of the work that all police officers across the service do on a daily basis," he said.

Inspector John Kinkead, from Coleraine, picked up second place in the lifetime officer of the year category.

He has 28 years of service. While based in Coleraine he helped introduce the first registered door supervisor scheme in Northern Ireland. This now forms the basis for the nationally recognised registration required by every staff member employed as a door supervisor.

Sergeant Andy Davies, of Gloucestershire police, said there was no evidence to suggest racially motivated crime had increased in Cheltenham, but said incidents of abuse often go unreported.

"Racism is something we do not tolerate," he said. "We all need to stand up to these kind of outdated and abhorrent attitudes. We would encourage anyone who is targeted by racial abuse to report it to us so that we can take steps to catch the offenders."

Belfast Telegraph