Hate crime cards which will make it easier for people with autism to report crime are being launched by Beds Police.
The cards, designed by people with autism for people with autism, have be rolled out across the county from today (February 12) to conclude the Bedfordshire partners hate crime week of action.
The aim is to make it easier for people with autism to report hate crime, as well as recognising the social and communication difficulties associated with autism and the importance of improving communication.
Showing the card means the person is able to communicate that they need help either reporting a crime or communicating. The card is credit card size and also contains details of a key contact. They will be given to people in the county along with an easy read hate crime booklet to also help raise awareness and improve understanding of hate crime and the support available.
Chief Inspector Gayner Coulson said: “We continue to seek ways to deliver services to our communities with diverse needs. It is important that vulnerable people in our county know about hate crime and that being targeted is wrong.
“Hate crime remains underreported and we are working hard with partners to tackle prejudice and crime against someone with a disability in our county. We continue to urge the public to come forward and report hate incidents, whether you are a victim, witness, relative or a concerned friend. Nobody deserves to be victimised for who they are and we are dedicated to preventing and detecting this despicable crime.”
The project has been launched in partnership with local advocacy agency Pohwer. Elyzabeth Hawkes, POhWER Area Manager, said: “POhWER is a charity and membership organisation. We provide information, advice, support and advocacy to people who experience disability, vulnerability, distress and social exclusion.
“This initiative in partnership with Bedfordshire Police goes to the heart of what your local POhWER advocates, volunteers and members are there to achieve - to enable those who are subject to hate crime to be able to speak up and take control of their lives.”
Anyone who has witnessed a hate crime or has been victim of a hate crime should call police on 101, or report it online at http://report-it.org.uk/
Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.