hate crime - Cllr Craig Bailey, Willaston parish Council

A Willaston councillor has officially complained to Cheshire Police after being told to wait FIVE days before giving a statement about a homophobic assault he suffered.

Cllr Craig Bailey has written to Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner, saying the response shows a “lack of seriousness in tackling hate crime”.

PCC John Dwyer said he was “troubled” by the experience of Cllr Bailey and has pledged to make sure his force “delivers” in tackling such crime.

As revealed by Nantwich News, the incident happened on Friday when Cllr Bailey and his partner Wayne were doing voluntary work for Willaston Parish Council.

Two youths approached them, shouted homophobic abuse, and one claimed to be carrying a knife and changed direction to follow Cllr Bailey into a nearby field.

Cllr Bailey, in his letter, said when he called police on Friday he was told the earliest an officer could come was Wednesday – five days later.

Letter to PCC John Dwyer over hate crime response
Letter from Cllr Bailey to PCC John Dwyer

“This seems completely unacceptable given it was a targeted hate crime and an indirect threat made with a weapon,” said Cllr Bailey.

“Taking public office should not at any level mean people are subject to such abuse, and I feel by allowing a five-day wait for a statement, and then for it to just a phone call rather than face to face, shows a lack of seriousness by the police to tackle such hate crime and targeted crimes.

“To be targeted because you are councillors and also gay and then to be told the individual has a knife and proceed to follow you, I feel the response I am experiencing from police is completely unacceptable.”

Cllr Bailey initially said the incident may force him to step down as councillor, but he has since vowed to carry on through his “love for Willaston”.

Today, PCC Mr Dwyer told Nantwich News the complaint has been raised with the Chief Constable.

He added: “I was troubled to hear of Cllr Bailey’s experience and the abuse towards him and his partner was unacceptable.

“In addition to my office raising this with the Chief Constable I have contacted Cllr Bailey personally to let him know that I’ve taken his concerns about the police response on board, and I understand that Chief Inspector Fez Khan will be making contact with him also.

“Hate crime has no place in our county and my Police and Crime Plan is clear that tackling it is a priority.

“I want to improve the way we respond to hate crime in Cheshire and ensure that people are confident it will be dealt with properly when reported to the police.

“Nobody should suffer an experience similar to Cllr Bailey and his partner, and it’s my job as Commissioner to make sure the Constabulary delivers in this area.”

John Dwyer Cheshire Crime Commissioner
John Dwyer Cheshire Crime Commissioner

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