A presentation to the public by the Scottish Borders LGBT Equality Group this evening, Tuesday, October 11, in Galashiels is aimed at tackling hate crime in its various forms.
Promoting the Police Scotland campaign, officers from the Safer Communities team will give a presentation to members of the public gathered in the Interchange Building from 6.30-9pm.
It is also an opportunity for the police, as well as other organisations including Transgender Scotland, the Equality Network and the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), to describe the progress they have made in advancing equality, diversity and inclusion.
The event will form part of Police Scotland’s Hate Crime Awareness Week, which runs from October 8-15.
The campaign aims to tackle prejudice and prosecute anyone involved in such offences.
Constable Susie Ross, who is an equality and diversity officer, based in Dalkeith, said: “Any form of hate crime is unacceptable, which is why events such as this one are so important to highlight this message.
“Everyone has the right to feel safe in their community.
“There is no place for prejudice in modern society and Police Scotland is committed to tackling these offences wherever and whenever they occur.
“If anyone feels that they have been the victim of, or witness to, a crime which is motivated by malice or ill will because of sexual orientation, race, religion or gender identity then please get in touch with Police Scotland on 101. “We take all such reports very seriously and will conduct thorough investigations to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.”
Constable Ross’s boss, Chief Constable Phil Gormley, said: “Tackling all forms of hate crime remains an absolute priority for Police Scotland.
“Every incident has a significant impact on the victim, their family and wider communities.
“Police Scotland continues to work closely with our criminal justice partners to do everything in our power to protect all communities and eradicate all forms of hatred.
“We cannot, however, do this on our own, and I am asking the people of Scotland to continue to work with us to ensure every incident is reported to the police.
“We recognise that hate crime often goes unreported, and there are many reasons why people don’t come forward and raise their concerns, but we must work together to ensure hate crime has no place in our communities.
“We live in a diverse and welcoming country, where for the majority, diversity is something to be celebrated, so if you or someone you know is being targeted and treated unfairly due to their disability, sexuality, race, religion or sexual orientation, then do something about it and tell someone.
“This doesn’t have to be a police officer, and we work closely with a wide variety of partner agencies, charities and community groups to offer ways in which victims or witnesses can raise a concern and get the information to the play via a third party.
“Hate Crime can manifest itself in lots of different ways, for example, offensive graffiti, having your property vandalised, having your belongings stolen, people swearing or making abusive remarks making you feel intimidated or harassed, through online abuse, being threatened or being physically attacked.
“All of this behaviour is completely unacceptable, and whether criminal or not, Police Scotland wants to know about in order to avoid behaviour escalating and being unchallenged.”