Prestonians were urged on Saturday to do their bit to help stop hate crime in the city.Advertisement
Lancashire Police took up a position inside the Harris Museum and Art Gallery as part of the Don’t Stand By campaign.
It is part of the Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations and aims to highlight how often even small remarks or actions can be classed as a hate crime.
PC Stuart Rutledge, the hate crime and diversity officer for Lancashire Police, said there was not a major issue with hate crime in the city.
He said: “I wouldn’t say Preston is better or worse than anywhere else. It does happen but it’s important people feel the police will take it seriously and investigate it.
“We have crimes and we have incidents when it comes to hate crime. Often people don’t realise that something they may be doing is causing a real issue for someone else.
“To give you an example we had a disabled lady in Preston and these young lads kept blocking her access ramp with bins.
“We classed that as a hate incident because the lady was disabled. She was being targeted and we were able to educate those youngsters so it didn’t happen again.”
PC Rutledge was joined by members of the police cadets who posed with the #DontStandBy campaign banner with members of the public visiting the museum.
He said: “We’ve had a few questions about how this fits with the upcoming English Defence League demonstration.
“All I can say on that is we will be monitoring what is said during that event very closely.
“Often we won’t act on the day, as it may have major consequences for the safety of the public, but it will be dealt with afterwards.
“Ultimately there is a strong tradition of freedom of speech in this country and we as the police have to respect that and find the right balance.”
Holocaust Memorial Day is to be marked in Preston on Wednesday 27 January with a service at Preston Minster from 11am.