As Leader of Mole Valley District Council, I have the pleasure and privilege of engaging and working with a range of communities across the District. Time and again I see the way in which Mole Valley residents look after each other as well as their local streets, villages and towns.
This community spirit often helps support the most vulnerable members of our society and it shows the huge pride and responsibility that individuals and groups have in their communities and the local environment.
That's why it saddens me so much to read national reports of increasing numbers of individuals or groups being singled out and suffering abuse because of their religion or race and I want to take this opportunity, on behalf of every Council Member and the Council as a whole, to say how strongly we condemn any behaviour of this sort.
The UK has a proud history as a multicultural society and the Council is united in the belief that minority groups, including EU citizens, are valued members of our communities and will remain so - if you have made Mole Valley your home, you deserve and have a right to the same respect as any other member of our community.
Thankfully, Surrey Police have confirmed that there has been no recent increase in racist or xenophobic reports in Mole Valley, but it is important we are not complacent and the Council will continue to work with communities and partners, particularly the police and the Community Safety Partnership, to monitor the situation, prevent and deal with any hate crimes within the District. These sorts of criminal incidents, whether verbal or physical abuse, cannot and should not be tolerated.
If you experience or witness hate crime I strongly encourage you to report it to the police by dialling 101, using the hate crime reporting site www.report-it.com or by contacting Crime Stoppers.
At Mole Valley District Council, we have identified a number of core values which inform and determine the way we, as elected Councillors and officers, go about our work on a daily basis. We have committed to: respect; listen; care; trust; and lead. I know that those values are shared by individuals and organisations across the District and so I am confident that, together, we will continue to build an inclusive and caring society here in Mole Valley.
Summer is traditionally the time of village fetes, street parties and other events which celebrate our local history, culture and community spirit. I very much hope that, in the coming months, we can all focus on these positive aspects of community life and use local events to foster closer, supportive relationships with those around us.