Artwork produced by Luton school pupils features on the latest police publicity materials aimed at raising awareness of hate crime.
Students from Stockwood Park Academy won a competition and will now see their designs produced on hate crime leaflets and posters across the county.
The competition was open to all schools across Bedfordshire which attended the Hate Crime Youth Conference, organised by Bedfordshire Police last year, and saw Chalk Hills Academy and Lea Manor High School finish as runners up.
The leaflets have already started being used and distributed to organisations and residents. The pupils also visited Jill Jenkins Court residential home, in Whipperley Ring, Luton, last week to speak to residents about disability hate crime and hand out leaflets with officers.
The publicity materials specifically promote the reporting of the five prominent characteristics of hate crime; race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity.
Bedfordshire Police Hate Crime Sergeant James Hart said: "I really pleased with the efforts of all the schools involved in this competition. The students have shown great creativity and thought, and a real understanding of hate crime. It's been a privilege working with the youngsters from Stockwood Academy on this project and it's clear they really want to make a difference in their school; they have also started working with the local community in order to increase awareness of hate crime and discrimination.
“It's so important that young people are educated on this very important topic and Stockwood Academy have taken it a step further; they are now empowering their students to talk about hostility based on someone's appearance or beliefs and providing them with skills to challenge such behaviour in an effective manner."
Taj Hussain, Community Cohesion Manager at Stockwood Park Academy, added: "We're really proud of our pupils and it's fantastic their artwork is being used to inform people about hate crime. The students are now hate crime ambassadors for the school operating under the name ‘Strength’ and have already started working on awareness initiatives. This all stems from our partnership work with Bedfordshire Police, including the Hate Crime Conference and the Anne Frank Ambassador programme. These projects were brilliant and made the young people think about their responsibilities on issues such as prejudice and discrimination."
The leaflets can be view and downloaded from http://www.bedfordshire.police.uk/tackling_crime/hate_incidents.aspx
You can follow Sergeant James Hart on Twitter via @bedshatecrime to keep up to date with how the force tackles hate crime. Hate crime can be reported to police on 101 or online to True Vision at www.report-it.org.