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Hampshire Police have been working with a local theatre company to create a film that tackles the issue of disability hate crime.
‘Paul’s Story’ looks at the police response to the case of a young man with Asperger’s who is involved in what at first appears to be a dispute with his neighbour. It later transpires that he is suffering different forms of abuse from the whole community.
Blue Apple Theatre and Hampshire Constabulary were commissioned by the Home Office ‘Community Action Against Crime Innovation Fund’ to make the film as a training tool for police and to raise awareness of the issue within the wider community.
The film was shot in Winchester and involved around 100 people from across Hampshire. It stars local actors and police officers with an introduction from Chief Constable Andy Marsh. It will be premiered at the Everyman Cinema in Winchester on Saturday, June 1st.
Click here to view the trailer
Superintendent James Fulton said:
“‘Paul’s Story’ is a powerful film with a very important message: if you or someone you know has been intimidated, harassed, abused or experienced anti-social behaviour because of disability, don’t put up with it.
“It’s easy enough to say, but I appreciate it’s not always easy to recognise abuse of this nature when it’s happening or to have the confidence to come forward and report it when you do.
"If you are able to tell someone – the police, a friend, a carer – then there are many things we in the police can do to resolve the problems, prevent them from happening again and help you get the support you need.
“Hampshire Constabulary is committed to protecting people from harm, particularly the most vulnerable in our communities and we’ll be using the film to help our own officers and staff to better identify disability hate crime and ensure we’re continuing to improve the service we provide to our communities.”
Director Will Jessop said:
“’Paul’s Story’ is a serious film about a serious issue. Disability hate crime is when people are targeted and scapegoated for the ills of society simply because they are perceived to be vulnerable, as if they are in some way less than human.
"This is clearly unacceptable. It is a product of ignorance and fear, and every one of us has a responsibility to stop it. This film proves that we can.
"It was humbling to see the extraordinary efforts of the whole community of volunteers, from people with learning disability to police to members of the local neighbourhood, who came together to make a statement: we are united against hate crime.
"We made this serious, challenging film with friendship and endless good will. That gives me hope.”
James, who plays Paul in the film, said:
“It was very moving. You can’t believe how powerful the story is, when you’re trying to act. You’re all friends in real life, but it’s a bit disturbing. I feel sorry for Paul. People don’t really understand him.
"It was fun when you were outside doing a big scene with lots of people and it was freezing cold. Then the police come in. I also enjoyed the fighting bits! That was an exciting scene. I think it was important to get it right.
"It makes a change being the star. The police I met were very good. Very understanding. They all had patience. It was a very good experience.
“Hopefully the police will get the message that they’ve got to understand people like us because sometimes we get picked on. It’s not easy when you have learning disability, but no-one is perfect.
"That’s what my grandmother used to say. It would be good if the film could help stop hate crime. There’s still a lot of it going on.”
If you or someone you know has been the victim of disability hate crime, call police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
You can also report hate crimes via the True Vision website.
Paul is a young man with Asperger's who lives independently in his own flat. He is having trouble with his neighbours. Mrs Price keeps on nagging at Paul to move his bike. Instead, Paul shouts at her. Mrs Price calls the police and an officer called PC Gordon attends. At first, the incident seems to be a straightforward neighbour dispute, but there is something about Paul's demeanour that makes Gordon suspect that something else might be happening. Unfortunately, Paul refuses to talk about it. He is in fact experiencing different forms of prejudice from the entire community. But can PC Gordon and his colleagues recognise and confront this before it is too late?
More information on disability hate crime
More information on hate crime