Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire, Tafheen Sharif, will join a high level police delegation on an educational visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, which starts today, Tuesday, May 27.
Ms Sharif will be one of 14 key individuals from across the country’s police forces to take part in an education programme called Lessons from Srebrenica, organised by a British charity, Remembering Srebrenica, supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to honour the victims and survivors of hatred and to help raise public awareness to reject hatred and create a cohesive society for everyone.
During their three-day visit, the delegates will meet a range of people, including senior security officials, visit the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) to learn about the rule of law aspects of identifying the missing, and visit key sites, including the Srebrenica genocide memorial.
Ms Sharif is part of the Bedfordshire-wide team working on a unified strategy to tackle hate crime in the county.
She said: “We recognise that we have achieved a lot in the UK but discrimination, promotion of hatred and extremism persist and we must play our part, however big or small, to create a safer and better future for all. I am keen to learn how people who have faced racism and hatred within their communities, have tackled it. Hopefully this fact-finding trip will highlight some of the key trigger points and how they have been managed since then.
“The Balkans conflict saw some of the most hideous atrocities against humanity ever seen and I look forward to gaining a valuable insight into how issues such as hatred, religious intolerance and politically motivated unrest were addressed and subsequently overcome. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn lessons which we can share for the benefit of our communities here in the UK.”
Commissioner Olly Martins added: “Hate crime, in whatever form it manifests itself, is insidious. It must never be tolerated, and we need to encourage people to report it, by making them aware that they need not suffer in silence, but seek out the help that is at hand.”
“The appalling events at Srebrenica were not even 20 years ago and they illustrate that left unchecked, hate crimes and intolerance can be at the top of a slippery slope that leads to massacre and depravity. That is why it is so appropriate for Taf to be travelling to Bosnia-Hercegovina having just played such a leading role in launching our hate crime strategy.”