Offering a visible presence, Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens and Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees came together to walk the streets of St George, to reassure local residents following Monday’s Manchester terror attack.
United in their message that terrorism will not win, the Commissioner and Mayor took to the streets of Bristol with members of the local neighbourhood policing team and local community and faith representatives to show their collective support.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “As local communities we are stronger when we stand together against terrorism. Those individuals, who commit these awful atrocities, do so to try and divide us. We must look out for and care for one another. We cannot and we will not let terrorism win.
“We have previously seen attacks like this have led to an increase in hate crime. Hate crime of any kind will not be tolerated. No one deserves to be targeted because of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability and not in the name of terrorism. I implore you, if you see hate crime happening, please report it.”
The walkabout comes following an open letter issued by the Commissioner and Chief Constable earlier this week and as armed officers will now be seen out and about in our communities, particularly in Bristol and Bath, in response to the change in the threat level to critical.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “We stand in solidarity with Manchester and the victims of this horrendous crime. It is in our solidarity that we show those who commit these crimes that they will not divide us and our support will always be offered to those in need.
“We are a city that does not tolerate hate crime of any sort and we will stand together with all communities to protect the vulnerable. This is something we must do together so I urge anyone who witnesses a hate crime to report it and help us tackle it now.”
Those who joined the walk included young people, Integrate UK’s Director Lisa Zimmerman, Bristol Muslim Cultural Society’s Rizwan Ahmed, Council of Bristol Mosque’s Arif Khan and Strategic Director of SARI (Stand Against Racism and Inequality) Alex Raikes, amongst other community and faith representatives.
Nasra Ayub, a second year politics and philosophy student at the University of Bristol and outreach worker for Integrate UK. Nasra said: “I want young people to know despite what’s happened in Manchester, we are here with them in solidarity. They shouldn’t be nervous as young Muslims or even young people in general. There shouldn’t be segregation amongst us, there should be solidarity.”
Director of Integrate UK, Lisa Zimmerman said: “I think the events in Manchester made a lot of us a little nervous about the possible response and reactions following the attack. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to come together in Bristol and stand united with Manchester, in their message that what’s happened won’t break us and we’re not going to allow this sort of thing in our society.”
Alex Raikes, Strategic Director of SARI, representing local hate crime services said: “It’s important we show local communities we’re here and making ourselves available to answer questions, allay fears and concerns and to reassure people. What’s happened is appalling, but we’re doing everything we can in Bristol to make sure it doesn’t happen here.”
A hate crime can be at differing levels from the verbal abuse experienced by the lady in the supermarket to the physical attacks on the man at work. Anyone can be a victim of hate crime; you don’t need to be a member of a minority group. To report a hate crime visit www.avonandsomerset.police.uk.
There are many services offering specialist support for victims of hate crime including SARI and Bristol Hate Crime Services, commissioned and funded by Bristol City Council. You can access both services via their individual websites or by calling 0800 171 2272.
View a video of the visit here:
Posted on Friday 26th May 2017