Force leads awareness launch of national platform tackling anti-Sikh hate
Main article content
A national platform designed to encourage members of the Sikh community to report incidents of hate crime has been launched in Nottingham.
SikhGuard aims to make it easier for people from within the community who have experienced abuse to come forward and report it to the police.
Available in both Punjabi and English, the tool can be accessed online and is focused on helping those who have experienced anti-Sikh hate to report it as easily as possible.
Sikh police officers and staff from across the UK helped design the platform, in a bid to increase the reporting of incidents that may have previously gone unreported, while helping build the community’s trust and confidence in the police too.
In addition to encouraging people to report these incidents, SikhGuard also aims to ensure hate crimes are attributed by the police to the correct religion, so that Sikh-hate crimes are recorded as that, as opposed to being incorrectly recorded as an Islamophobic offence, for example.
A launch of the national platform took place in Nottingham on Sunday (20 August) at a special event organised by Nottinghamshire Police that was held inside the Siri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara Sikh Temple, in Nottingham Road.
The National Sikh Police Association UK (NSPAUK), which runs SikhGuard, selected Nottinghamshire Police to lead the awareness launch, after officers suggested new ways to spread the word about the platform, including handing out cards promoting it to victims of crime from the Sikh community.
Detective Inspector Dave Bola, who suggested that idea, said: “This platform can be accessed in seconds online and is all about making it easier for people who have experienced Sikh-hate to come forward and report it, while also ensuring these crimes are recorded correctly too.
“Because this is something that’s been designed by Sikh officers and staff that work in policing, it may encourage members of the community to report more than they would do previously, while making it available in Punjabi could help with this as well.
“It is really important that we try and provide different ways for people to report crimes and SikhGuard certainly does that.
“SikhGuard is also about making sure hate crime reports are recorded properly by the police. For example, if a Sikh hate crime is getting recorded as Islamophobia, people may not get the right support following this abuse, so recording these crimes more accurately will help ensure the right resources go to the right places.
“This isn’t just for the benefit of the Sikh community though, as any initiative that promotes hate crime reporting, whether that be LGBTQ+, racism, homophobia, or in other areas, ultimately encourages more people to report other hate crimes too, so it’s great to be able to spread awareness about this important initiative.”
SikhGuard will be included in hate crime training for officers at Nottinghamshire Police going forward, while cards and leaflets promoting the initiative will be delivered to front counters at police stations, where they can also be distributed to victims of crime, where appropriate.
Assistant Chief Constable Rob Griffin was among those who represented Nottinghamshire Police at the weekend’s launch, which was also attended by members of the force’s recruitment and Hate Crime teams.
“It was a pleasure to attend the launch of the SikhGuard platform, and we’re pleased to have been able to support the NSPAUK in promoting this initiative, here in Nottingham,” said ACC Griffin.
“Nottinghamshire Police takes a zero-tolerance approach to all types of hate crime and would always urge anyone who is a victim of abuse, or witnesses a hate crime incident themselves, to report it immediately to the police so that we can act.
“There are a variety of different reasons why people might not feel able to report a hate crime, but anything we can do to make it easier for people to speak up or make them feel more comfortable talking to the police, is undoubtedly a positive thing.
“It is really important that we continue to find new ways to engage with the public and build the community’s trust and confidence in the police, which is one of the things SikhGuard is looking to achieve, so we’re delighted to be able to support it.”
NSPAUK President Harvey Rai added: "We are grateful to Nottinghamshire Police for their support promoting the next phase of SikhGuard.
"This event shows the power of Communities highlighting their concerns and then working with police officers to create a workable product addressing that concern.
"In this case the Sikh community have been asking for a Hate Crime reporting process and SikhGuard fills that need."
To report an anti-Sikh hate crime using SikhGuard, visit: sikhguard.org
Hate crimes can also be reported by calling 999 in an emergency, 101 for non-emergencies or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. You can also report a hate crime online at www.report-it.org.uk
For more information about hate crimes, visit: https://www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/hatecrime