A GROUP of people are under investigation for hate crimes after allegedly shouting homophobic comments in Redditch town centre this afternoon.
Police were made aware of the incident by Borough Councillor Joe Baker, who was passing Three Cooks Cafe at the time.
Coun Baker said: “How lovely – bigotry and homophobia from around eight people at the top of Unicorn Hill.
“They chose the wrong time to shout ‘homosexuals are going to hell’, as I was the one who was walking past.
“Totally unacceptable; of course I had to respond and challenge them and I also called the police.”
When officers arrived they told the group, who were said to be quoting offensive Bible scripture, to leave the area.
The former Mayor of Redditch said the police responded quickly and carried out their work with dignity and respect.
Inspector Lee Page of Redditch Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “I have spoken to Coun Baker, who heard the abuse first-hand, to offer my support.
“He bravely challenged the group and called the police.
“Hate crime is under-reported. I would encourage anyone who has experienced it to speak out, as by reporting it you may be able to prevent it from happening again to you or someone else.”
Coun Baker added that homophobic comments can lead to suicide, anxiety or stress.
“I would encourage anyone, if it’s safe to do so, to not tolerate any forms of homophobia, xenophobia, bigotry, racism or anything like that – you have to make a stand.
“The more people who make a stand, the better for society – but don’t put yourself at risk.”
Hate crime can be reported to police by visiting http://www.report-it.org.uk
Police are urging anyone with video footage of the incident to call 101.
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