Hertfordshire County Council has made an unequivocal statement that racism, xenophobia and hate crimes are totally unacceptable.
At a meeting of the full council on 19 July, a motion put forward by the Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst called on the council to publicly condemn all acts of racism and hatred and to ensure that local bodies and programmes have the support and resources to tackle the issue. The motion received unanimous support.
The Conservatives seconded the motion and the Labour Group Leader spoke in support of it. All county councillors present voted in favour of it.
Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst said, “I am proud that here in Hertfordshire and the UK we live in a diverse and tolerant society in which racism, xenophobia and hate crimes have no place.
“We wanted to reassure all people living in Hertfordshire that they are valued members of our community, irrespective of their beliefs, nationality or ethnic origins, or gender. They all make a great contribution to this diverse and vibrant area and they are very welcome here.
“We also wanted to make clear that should there be any acts of this nature, they should be reported and the Police Commissioner has assured residents that any reports will be taken very seriously and acted upon.
“Any of us who sees or witnesses any example of intolerant attitudes has a duty to say it’s unacceptable in this day and age and will not be tolerated,” Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst concluded.
Full wording of the agreed motion was:
In the light of recent racism, xenophobia and hate crimes that have taken place in the Country, the Council is proud that here in Hertfordshire we live in a diverse and tolerant society. Racism, xenophobia and hate crimes have no place in our County.
The Council wants to reassure all people living lawfully in Hertfordshire irrespective of their origins, race, religion, beliefs, nationality or ethnic origins that they are valued members of our community contributing to our diverse and vibrant area and are welcomed.
Therefore this Council:-
a) publicly condemns all and any such attacks on any person or persons in Hertfordshire and this Council pledges to continue, in partnership with others, to tackle racist, xenophobic and criminal behaviour; and
b) urges the Cabinet to continue to work to ensure local bodies and programmes have support and resources needed to fight and prevent racism and xenophobia.”