Harpenden family hits out at lack of police action over racist hate crime

PUBLISHED: 11:50 17 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:18 18 June 2020

Herts police are investigating after a man racially abused three school workers inside this Co-op store in Harpenden, St Albans. Picture: Google Maps.

Herts police are investigating after a man racially abused three school workers inside this Co-op store in Harpenden, St Albans. Picture: Google Maps.

Archant

Herts Police is seeking witnesses after a man racially abused three key workers in a St Albans shop last week.

A Harpenden family says police have failed to act over a racist hate crime last week.

Three school cleaners said they were abused in the Co-op store on Southdown Road on Monday June 8.

The offender repeatedly called the group the N-word and shouted at them, “Black lives don’t matter.”

The mother of one of the victims – a 17-year-old girl – said they had reported the crime when it occurred but had still not been visited by officers.

The teen, who cleans at High Beeches Primary School alongside her friend and her cousin, said the trio were abused when they visited the shop after work.

Her mother said: “I called [police] after the incident on Monday and was told someone will come and speak to Tatenda at the weekend. No one came.”

She said the only people who had contacted the family in the 10 days after the crime were victim support.

After being questioned by the Herts Advertiser about the delay, police did release a statement appealing for witnesses, but as of Wednesday, June 17, the girl – who took a photograph of the offender – had still not been visited.

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She said the group were in the sweet aisle when a man began using the N-word.

“He kept talking to us and using it repeatedly. I said, ‘Let’s just walk away’. When we were walking away, the man was at the self-checkout, buying some wine, and he said, ‘Bloody n******’.

“Then he kept saying other racial slurs like, ‘Go back to your own country’ and ‘Black lives don’t matter’. He started swinging his bottle of wine at us.

“I froze up and couldn’t really do anything because I was in shock. I’ve grown up here. I couldn’t believe things like this could happen here.”

A Herts Police spokesman said: “Police are investigating a racist hate crime that took place in Harpenden on Monday, June 8.

“Between 8.30pm and 9.15pm, the victim – a 17-year-old girl – was in the Co-op in Southdown Road when she was verbally assaulted by a man who used racist language towards her.

“Staff intervened and the man left the store and drove away in a vehicle.

“Enquiries are being carried out to trace the man responsible, including CCTV enquiries and speaking to witnesses who saw what happened.

“The victim is currently being supported by a specially trained hate crime officer.”

Anyone with information about the incident was asked to dial 101 and quote crime reference 41/44676/20.


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