Former hate crime officer recalls disturbing case of seven-year-old Asian boy found painting himself white in the 1960s
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Former hate crime officer and current Superintendent, Dennis Murray, has spoken on camera of the countless cases of hate crime he has come across, including one alarming one where, “one of the children, about seven-years-old, was found under the stairs painting himself white, because he was being badly bullied at school and thought that would help.”
Superintendent Murray speaks about his experience as a police officer, hate crime officer and as someone from an ethnic minority. He recalls: “I was born here, but I was only one of three BAME (Black, Asian or ethnic minority) families in Corby and the idea was to keep a low profile and blend in and not make a fuss.”
“When my brother had comments made against him by the gas meter reader, he didn’t report it to the police, even though his brother was the hate crime officer. That was the level of distrust we had to deal with. I think we’re in a very different place now, but we’re not there yet, which is why this work is so important.”
He strongly believes that for change to happen, people from the community must step up: “The way to change this is to get on the inside and influence policy. That’s why I think representation is really important in the force.”
Currently the crime statistics for Northamptonshire show a year-on-year increase in hate crime figures equating to 23.4 per cent between 2018/19 and 2019/20.
With both offenders and victims most likely to be in the 35 – 44 age bracket, representing 23.9 per cent and 29 per cent respectively, between Jan - Aug 2020.
The force has committed to dealing with hate crime and recent survey results indicate that satisfaction levels for victims of hate crime with the level of service they received has increased from 60 per cent in 2018 to 76.9 per cent in 2020.
A bespoke restorative justice programme for victims and offenders of hate crime has also recently been developed in conjunction with Voice – the support service for victims. The programme gives victims the chance to speak with their offenders and explain the real impact of the crime, empowering them with a voice. It also seeks to hold offenders to account, take responsibility and make amends.
Anyone who has been a victim of crime is encouraged to report it to the police on 101.
For people interested in joining Northamptonshire Police to make a real difference to the organisation and help tackle issues of hate crime and others, visit www.northants.police.uk/policeofficer