Leicestershire Police’s new ‘hate crime officer’ has received a barrage of abuse, after introducing herself online.
On October 3, Sumaya Bihi took to Twitter to introduce herself as Leicestershire Police’s new Hate Crime Officer.
However, after tweeting a picture of herself wearing a hijab, the young Muslim received a barrage of abuse, some of which featured racist and derogatory language.
Other Twitter users criticised Leicestershire Police for appointing her to the role, calling it an “unwise decision,” due to recent tensions in the east of the city between sections of the Hindu and Muslim communities.
“Not questioning this officer’s integrity, but considering she is from one of the two communities that rioted, a person of a third community would have been better,” said one person online. “You cannot say that people will not doubt her impartiality even if that’s not the case. Unwise decision.”
Despite the criticisms however, other Twitter users have shown their support for Ms Bihi’s appointment, stating that:
“People commenting on the religion of the officer are the ones who are biased and prejudiced.”
“An evolved and upright individual does her or his job without bias and on a fair and transparent manner,” they added.
Jonathan Ashworth, MP for Leicester South, has also come out in defence of Sumaya’s appointment, calling her “brilliant, dedicated and hugely talented.”
“This abuse is utterly unacceptable,” he added.
“Police must investigate thoroughly trolls including those who hide behind anonymous accounts. Leicester is united in saying we won’t let hate divide us.”
In response, Leicestershire Police said they are investigating the abuse and ‘supporting our hate crime officer in a number of ways.’
“Unacceptable messages have been reported to Twitter and we have opened our own enquiries into the abuse,” they say.
The role of the hate crime officer is to keep the force up to date on the latest legislation around hate crimes and the issues affecting all local communities. It also includes encouraging victims to report crimes against them and engaging with the public.
To find out more about Leicestershire Police’s efforts to tackle hate crime, visit: http://www.stamp-it-out.co.uk/what-we-do/