Watford FC midfielder Tom Cleverley and defender Will Troost-Ekong have signed up to the Herts Against Hate campaign to mark this week’s Hate Crime Awareness Week.
The pair have contributed to a new video asking Hertfordshire schoolchildren to report hate crime – not ignore it.
Normally, five hate crime officers would be out and about in schools, colleges and at the county’s university this week, meeting children and young people to explain what hate crime is and how to report it.
This year, coronavirus means things have to be done differently, and for the Herts Against Hate collaborative, including Hertfordshire Constabulary, the county council and partners, face-to-face events talking about what hate crime is and how to report may be a rarity, but police have made a brief video for schools so that they can make time to discuss the issue in the coming weeks.
Detective Chief Inspector Pete Frost said: “We’ve teamed up with some top players from Watford FC, an expert by experience from the county council, our police cadets and local schools to make a video that we hope secondary school pupils will remember if they witness or suffer hate crime.
“We want everyone to know that hate crime is unacceptable, will not be tolerated in Hertfordshire and you should report it, not ignore it.”
Dave Messenger, supporter liaison and disability access officer at the football club, said: “Watford FC is proud to support Hate Crime Awareness week. Actions speak louder than words and the issue of discrimination in football is something that should and will remain in sharp focus.
“Having launched our ‘We’ campaign in 2019, working with the hate crime unit at Herts police to encourage inclusivity and tackle social media discrimination directly, everyone at the club remains totally committed to challenging discrimination wherever it appears.”
Hate crime officer PC Andrea Haughton said: “Sadly I do feel that some have used the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to bully and intimidate people with unacceptable racist taunts causing them a great deal of anxiety and distress.
“The impact of a hate crime can be devastating. It can cause people to lose their confidence and be fearful about coming and going from their home, being out and about in public places or just going about their daily lives.”
You can report hate crime online at herts.police.uk/report, speak to an operator in the Force Communications Room via the online web chat at herts.police.uk/contact or call the non-emergency number 101.
In an emergency dial 999.
Alternatively report it anonymously via the True Vision website report-it.org.uk.