Officers from Northamptonshire Police met representatives of a local football club to discuss tackling racism in the sport, ahead of a major social media boycott to highlight the issue.
Community engagement officer PC Christian Buckenham and the Force’s hate crime officer Nick Stephens caught up with Eddie Slinn, chief executive of the Old Northamptonians Association and chair of ON Chenecks Football Club, and Bryan Lewin, secretary of ON Chenecks Football Club.
Their discussion looked at the importance of combatting hate crime at grassroots level, and ways to raise awareness of reporting hate incidents to the police, and came ahead of a widespread boycott of social media by leading footballing bodies, intended to highlight the issue of online racial abuse.
Nick said: “It was a really productive meeting and I was encouraged by the positive approach the club is taking to combat hate crime on the pitch. The club showed it is serious about being an inclusive and welcoming organisation.
“It was an opportune time to discuss hate crime at football matches as this weekend the Football Association, Premier League, English Football League, FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship, PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) and Kick It Out will boycott social media in response to the discrimination and abuse aimed at players, pundits and other members of the footballing community.”
Bryan added: “It was great to meet with Nick and Christian. I have been in contact with Nick for some time but it was nice to meet in person and discuss hate crime and other issues.
“It was reassuring that Nick acknowledged the work we are doing and our sense of community throughout the club.
“The club does not tolerate racist or abusive behaviour. The club is signed up to ‘Kick It Out’ – the partnership that has recently received extra funding to make it easier for football fans to report incidents of discrimination. We have recently gained the Kick It Out Equality Chartered Football Club status, something that all at the club are proud of.”
To report any form of hate crime, including racist abuse, call 101, or report online at www.northants.police.uk/ro