VICTIMS of hate crimes who don’t feel comfortable going to a police station can now report incidents at 17 different locations across the borough.
Libraries, colleges and community centres will now double up as reporting centres, following the official launch of the third party reporting network. Third party reporting centres are a means of tackling the chronic under reporting of hate crime were recommended in the Macpherson report into the Stephen Lawrence murder.
A hate crime is any criminal offence where the victim or any other person (such as a witness) perceives that the motivation of the perpetrator’s hate is because of sex, race, religion, age, disability or sexual orientation. Third party reporting is designed to encourage the reporting of hate incidents by providing appropriate support for the victim through a partnership of relevant agencies and without revealing the victim’s personal details.
A GROUP branded as far-right fascists has formed in Oldham sparking fears of a return to racial clashes.
The branch of the English Defence League — recently involved in violent disorder in Birmingham — has been set up by a football hooligan involved in the 2001 Oldham race riots, and already has 50 members.
Equality campaigners fear their emergence could harm the good work done to create community cohesion and have vowed to work even harder to ease tensions.
EDL’s leaders insist they are not racist, far-right or fascist, condemn the BNP and organise only peaceful protests against Islamic extremists.
Tariq Rafique, from Oldham Race Equality Partnership, said people were scared at the prospect. He said: “Their main priority is to undermine the good work done in places like Oldham. “They are trying to move us back into the dark days that no one wanted to ever see. It now pushes us even further to defeat people who are just interested in promoting hate and dividing our communities.”
Race-equality champion Father Phil Sumner said the group was clearly anti-Muslim and survived off creating conflict. He added: “They will try their best to upset what has taken place and at times they will succeed in upsetting people because of their tactics. “Initially, people will be caught up in reacting to them but it creates a lot of energy and does not achieve anything. “The basis of the work we have done and continue to do has established relationships that will enable people in our area to recognise what’s going on and not be dragged into it and allow the good work to be destroyed.”
OLDHAMERS of all faiths and communities came together to reflect on the atrocities of the Holocaust.
Events in the borough yesterday marked Holocaust Memorial Day on the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. A special service took place in the Performance Suite of Gallery Oldham, led by the Mayor, Councillor Jim McArdle. Organised by Oldham Council, The Interfaith Forum and Oldham Race Equality Partnership, it featured young people and a variety of songs, readings and speeches.
It included a group of Oldham sixth-formers who have visited Auschwitz, the choir from St Chad’s Primary School in Uppermill, Rabbi Daniel Walker, from Manchester, and Rev Howard Sutcliffe, from the Interfaith Forum
COLOURFUL message . . .
NHS Oldham chief executive Gail Richards with the poster designed by pupils from St John’s Primary School, Failsworth.
Launching the campaign are (from the left): Councillor Keith Pendlebury, OREP manager Tariq Rafique, Chief Supt Tim Forber and NHS Oldham chief executive Gail Richards
IT’s a message Oldham has been pushing since the race riots of 2001 and it was summed up perfectly in a simple poster designed by school children . . . No to Racism.
The poster, designed by pupils at St John’s Primary School, Failsworth, took pride of place at a stand at Spindles Town Square shopping centre this week as officials got together to kick-start the annual campaign aiming to show racism the red card.
Pens, badges and T-shirts were being given out to spread the message: “There’s No Place for Racism in Oldham”, an initiative running since the race riots of 2001 to ease racial tensions, and shoppers were invited to discuss the issue. New Oldham police chief Tim Forber, NHS Oldham chief executive Gail Richards and Oldham Councillor Keith Pendlebury joined Oldham Race Equality Partnership manager Tariq Rafique in launching the campaign. Mr Rafique said: “We launched the campaign to say ‘Oldham says no to racism’. “The week is all about awareness-raising and what racism can do to people, regardless of background. “We’re in Spindles to get a feel on what people think about racism.
ROUGHYEDS chairman Chris Hamilton has joined the board of Oldham Community Leisure.(OCL)
He will be joined by director of Oldham Race Equality Partnership, Tariq Rafiq.
“These are exciting times for OCL and we have been strengthened by the addition of two quality new board members,” said Stuart Lockwood, OCL’s chief executive.
Mr Hamilton said that since the club was established at Whitebank, it has massively expanded its work in the community — and joining OCL is a major step in the right direction.
He added: “It was a source of pride to be asked to join the OCL board and I will give it 100 per cent because I don’t know any other way.
Anyone with an OCL card is now entitled to 50 per cent off the cost of admission to the Roughyeds’ home games at Whitebank on production of their card at the ticket kiosk situated near the turnstiles on match day.