The newly appointed Chair of PFD, Supt Gemma Morris, reflects on her vast experience and ongoing commitment to tackling hate crime in Dorset.
By Superintendent Gemma Morris, Dorset Police
Having grown up in Dorset, I first served with Surrey Police for ten years before transferring back to Dorset in 2009. In both forces I have undertaken roles across a range of policing disciplines.
My first post within Dorset Police was Head of Community Engagement. In this role I was involved in producing Dorset Police’s response to the EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) Disability Harassment Inquiry and the implementation of the Police Service Equality Standard.
The role also incorporated Public Confidence, Neighbourhood Policing, Equality and Diversity and working with Independent Advisory Groups, as well as various other groups representing seldom heard communities and those protected under the Equality Act 2010.
I have undertaken a range of roles within Neighbourhood Policing in both Surrey and Dorset, which has given me experience in both rural and urban policing environments.
At Surrey Police I worked as part of the National Reassurance Policing Programme; and at Dorset Police I led a review of Neighbourhood Policing and held geographic responsibility for the West of Dorset during the Olympic Games in 2012.
I am an accredited detective with experience as a tactical firearms commander, as well as a kidnap and extortion-trained senior investigating officer. I have held the posts of Director of Investigations for Dorset Police and most recently as the Director of Public Protection, where I worked closely with partners to safeguard and protect our most vulnerable victims and communities.
In my current role I am responsible for Neighbourhood Policing Teams, Partnerships and Safeguarding for the Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole local policing area. I am also Dorset Police’s strategic lead for Hate Crime.
I am pleased to be taking over the role of Chair of Prejudice Free Dorset (PFD) and would like to start by formally recognising and thanking all of the current members of the collective for their hard work, commitment, and dedication to date.
I look forward to working with those groups and individuals who are currently members and hope we can continue to encourage wider engagement, representation and broaden participation in the future.
I am passionate about seeking to understand the lived experience of victims of crime and of the communities we serve. This will help us to improve the quality of service offered by the police and that of the PFD. Through our work we will continue to listen to communities and make sure everyone has the opportunity to influence the priorities and activities of PFD.
Finally I’d like to highlight that this week is Hate Crime Awareness Week. It is a week to focus our attention on making sure people who have been subjected to hate crime or who experience hate incidents feel confident in reporting to the Police or through a third party.
Hate does not belong in Dorset. Any crime which is perceived to have been motivated by hostility or prejudice based on someone’s race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability, or transgender identity is a hate crime.
We want victims or witnesses to report it. We all have a part to play in ending hate crime and hate incidents. An increase in reporting helps us, the police, to understand what is happening in our communities and how best to tackle it.
You can report hate crime in numerous ways – online, by calling 101, visiting your local police station or talking to a third party who will report the incident on your behalf.