North East Lincolnshire

Police commissioner: Hate crime against gypsy and traveller community is ‘never acceptable’

A police commissioner has said that anyone committing hate crimes against the gypsy and traveller community in Lincolnshire will be identified and prosecuted.

Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter has said that the force will make “every effort” to ensure hateful comments made by residents online do not go unchallenged.

The PCC said that although some problems exist when travellers arrive in an area, there would be zero tolerance of racial hatred or violence.

He said: “When travellers do visit the area we are faced with the same issues year after year of some unauthorised encampments, with local residents and others reacting to both the encampments themselves and making online comments on the media reports which often accompany such activity.

“Any issues that do exist or develop need to be addressed in a measured, proportionate and legal way and should be taken in balance with the lack of provision of provided stopover sites by local authorities, which is a requirement.

“It is a mark of a civilised society as to how it deals with people who live within it, perhaps with a way of life out of the norm, which may provide challenges to agencies and communities.

“What is never acceptable is the attitude expressed openly by some that gypsies and travellers are simply ‘a problem to be dealt with’.

“Such attitudes expressed by otherwise seemingly reasonable people breed an acceptance of intolerance which can lead to threatening words and behaviour by those with a propensity to such language and behaviour.

“When that occurs and remains unchallenged, history shows us we are on a very dangerous path.

“As Police and Crime Commissioner I will not allow it to go unchallenged, that includes threatening comments made by the public on the websites and Facebook pages of media outlets and all other forms of social media.”