The law currently recognises five types of hate crime on the basis of race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity. Anyone can be the target of a hate crime or hate incident.
Historically, the GRT community has been persecuted right across Europe for centuries and that continues in many countries today.
Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities face regular discrimination in the UK. This can often be brought about by being influenced by outdated stereotypes or by a lack of understanding. This lack of understanding can include not knowing about the modern lifestyle, or who is part of the GRT community. For example, it is worth noting that a lot of the workers and stallholders at Hull Fair are members of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain, rather than the GRT community.
DC Kelly Edgar, who founded the Humberside GRT Police Association, spoke about the issues faced by members of the GRT community: “They are still portrayed negatively by organisations, the media and people’s general lack of knowledge or understanding about the culture.
“As with any community, there are always good and bad. There is a stigma surrounding the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community and criminality. This is fuelled by local media and the fact that police are often asked to attend unauthorised sites with the local council.”
As far back as 2011, it was recorded that 74% of Gypsies and Travellers were settled. “Most people’s perceptions are of the transient community that travels around the country, taking up residence on local land. However, the majority of GRTs are settled in houses but they are still discriminated against in other areas of their lives,” added DC Edgar.
In 2017, a survey estimated that 91% percent of people within the GRT community had experienced discrimination, with 77% experiencing hate speech or a hate crime. However, there is a real reluctance to report these crimes, possibly due to distrust of the police or a belief that nothing will be done.
“GRTs are reluctant to report hate crime. I worked hard to change this when I was a Community Cohesion Officer, working with the GRT community and with police officers to try to educate them.”
Humberside Police takes all reports of hate crime seriously. This Hate Crime Awareness Week we want to remind people to call it out and report hate crimes.
To report a hate crime, visit www.humberside.police.uk or the national hate crime website, call them on 999 in an emergency, or 101 for non-emergencies, or visit one of the four reporting centres across Hull. Information on where these centres are can be found here.
Find out more about the history and culture of GRT communities here.