Northampton

Northamptonshire Police could disband hate crime unit

Northamptonshire Police headquarters
Image caption Northamptonshire Police needs to save £23m over five years

The hate crime unit at Northamptonshire Police could be disbanded and 1,500 officers and staff given specialist training instead, the force has said.

A police and crime commissioner (PCC) office report questioned the need for a dedicated unit of six officers.

The force must save £23m over five years and is reviewing all operations.

Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council (NREC) said hate crime was different as it attacked people's identity and needed a specialist unit.

A police spokesman said: "The scale of the savings the force needs to make means we need to think very differently about the future and the increasing challenges we face.

Identity attack

"The force now has more people trained and able to respond to incidents of hate crime.

"It seems logical that we review whether there is a need for a small unit solely dedicated to these sorts of incidents."

NREC chief executive Anjona Roy questioned the level of training staff would be given to help them deal with racist, homophobic or religious attacks or abuse of people with disabilities.

"A hate crime is an attack on an individual's identity, their being," she said.

"Often victims are not not believed. This calls for a different way of working from every other crime.

"It is a complex area with many different issues that calls for specialists."

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