Birmingham appoints first football hate crime officer

Monday 11th January 2021 11:02 EST

West Midlands Police has appointed their first football hate crime officer who will help and support others who face discrimination.

PC Stuart Ward will work to help "stamp out rising abuse against footballers and fans - which has become increasingly prevalent online," the force has reported.

His role, thought to be that of the first dedicated hate crime officer based in a football unit, will include investigating complaints of hate crime linked to football, monitoring online interactions and working with the region’s clubs. Stuart was the victim of racism as a young footballer himself so understands the emotional impact of abuse. It means he can provide support to victims while knowing what they’re going through.

The 34-year-old said, “I’m mixed race and growing up I was racially abused. I remember being 11-years-old and playing football for a junior side. It came from another player and the thing that stuck with me was how no-one did anything about it, other than my mum who stopped the game and took me off the pitch.

“There were parents, match officials, the other players - who were old enough to know right from wrong - who didn’t challenge the comments or support me. So, having sadly been subjected to discrimination I know the feelings and the impact it can have on you. I feel I’m in a position where I can offer help and support, while looking to take action against those involved."

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