West Midlands Police's football hate crime police officer has already investigated 75 race and homophobic crimes - The Solihull Observer
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9th Aug, 2022

West Midlands Police's football hate crime police officer has already investigated 75 race and homophobic crimes

Sarah Mason 15th Aug, 2021

THE UK’S first dedicated football hate crime police officer is already investigating 75 crimes since starting the job to kick racism out the game.

PC Stuart Ward took on the role for West Midlands Police in January after incidents of football-related racism shot up by 42 per cent last season.

In just eight months PC Ward has received 75 reports of hate crimes – including from professional footballers – who have been abused online and during games.

The force has vowed to crack down on abuse, both at matches and on social media, ahead of the new football season.

Anyone found guilty of committing a hate offence receives a criminal record and the risk of a banning order which means they cannot attend any games.

Stuart was the victim of racism as an 11-year-old footballer and his experience two decades ago only fuels his desire to lead the zero tolerance approach.

He said: “I’m sure I speak on behalf of every respectable out there when I say there’s no place for discrimination, which includes a football stadium.

“To abuse someone for their race, sexual orientation, disability, faith or gender is quite frankly deplorable. We will never accept, or tolerate, attacks on anyone simply for being who they are.

“There has been a national rise in hate crime linked to football over the last few years and there are absolutely no winners from it.

“I know from personal experience how being a victim of racism hurts while offenders risk their own aspirations through getting a criminal record, and being banned from any game or stadium.

“This comes after the last 18 months of CoVID-19 restrictions preventing crowds at matches.”

Anyone who has been a victim of a football-related hate crime, or has information about an offence should contact police online or by calling 101.

 

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