Hate crimes refer to an incident or crime where someone’s hostility towards another is motivated by a prejudice based on race, sexuality, transgender identity, disability or religion.
A key objective of the District Hate Crime Strategy is to increase awareness and reporting of hate crimes. Bradford Hate Crime Alliance (BHCA) has been commissioned to achieve some key elements of the strategy.
Working in partnership with Bradford City Football Club (BCFC) since the beginning of the 2014/15 season, BHCA has supported measures to reduce hate crimes and incidents on match days.
Through a partnership between the club, its fans and BHCA, reporting mechanisms have been set up to help identify people involved in hate crimes on match days in and around the football ground. There had been a significant increase in reports of hate incidents and general anti-social actions.
A joint article for the match programme at the beginning of the season pledged a commitment from BCFC and BHCA to tackle all hate crime (particularly racist and homophobic incidents) on a match day inside and outside the stadium.
Tannoy announcements and continued promotion in match day programmes encouraged fans to report hate incidents. A confidential text service was set up, providing instant messages to the control room on match days and enabling them to deal with incidents straight away, where appropriate.
With a commitment from the club and its supporters groups the reporting of incidents has increased from just one in the 2013/14 season to 11 by the half way point of the 2014/15 season, which BHCA have supported the club to address.
BHCA continue to support BCFC and the Supporters Club to work with fans to bring about greater tolerance and understanding in relation to hate incidents and offensive comments. The aim is to educate those involved and work with the club to use alternatives, such as mediation, to prosecution and football banning orders where possible.
BHCA and BCFC would like this partnership to become a flagship initiative for the Club and City and demonstrate to other clubs what can be achieved working with local partners to achieve common objectives.
This scheme has shown great early promise in reducing the incidence of hate crime within Bradford District.
The success of this work and the strength of the partnership has led to discussion of achieving broader objectives including increasing the diversity of fans attending Bradford City games and having a match day attendance that reflects the make-up of the city. BHCA are working with representatives from all groups of people to encourage attendance at matches. Ultimately this should lead to an increase in the fan base at the club.