The cop who hates hate

PUBLISHED: 15:47 24 October 2006 | UPDATED: 11:03 06 May 2010

Ade Osoba

Ade Osoba

HAVING been born in east Belfast in a climate of religious bigotry, you would have thought a young Ade Osoba would have chosen a career devoid of risk. Brought up on a staunch loyalist estate the son of a doctor, he could not help being sucked into the re

HAVING been born in east Belfast in a climate of religious bigotry, you would have thought a young Ade Osoba would have chosen a career devoid of risk.

Brought up on a staunch loyalist estate the son of a doctor, he could not help being sucked into the religious hatred that divided the city and brought decades of civil unrest and was blighted by terrorism and hatred.

Instead of trying to find peace and quiet in a simple profession, he instead chose to join the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1982 and try to become a peacemaker.

In its ranks, Ade Osoba soon faced the full horrors of Belfast's fanatical terrorist factions.

On the front line he was bombed, shot at and his life threatened almost daily. Survival was, in his own words, very interesting.

Then in 1990, realising that he was riding his luck, he headed across the Irish Sea and landed in Hitchin, joining the Hertfordshire Constabulary.

"Why did I come to Hertfordshire? I felt the situation in Northern Ireland was not worth dying for. I had lost a lot of friends and I felt at the time I had used up most of my nine lives," said Pc Osoba.

"I had been bombed and shot at but never injured. Since I have been here I have been injured on 14 occasions but never heard a bomb or a gunshot."

Recently he was named Hertfordshire Constabulary's Diversity Officer of the Year and was presented with a glass globe that now sits proudly on the mantelpiece of his Hitchin home.

The accolade was for his work in Stevenage and North Herts for bringing harmony among all sectors of the community and helping to stamp out hate crime.

Unfortunately, people think of high profile crime like theft, assault, shootings, stabbings and murder. But there remains the growing concern about hate crime that can put people in fear of their lives.

Since the London bombings last year the incidents of verbal abuse against ethnic groups have grown. Gays also became a target when a nightclub in Hitchin held gay nights and thugs deliberately waited outside late at night and assaulted people coming out from the club.

Then there are other incidents like persistent verbal abuse on estates from anti-social families where people feel intimidated and terrified. All these are labelled under the category of hate crimes.

"People just don't think of hate crime. It is not one of those crimes that attracts publicity but happens all the time," said Pc 1291 Osoba, who at 44 is preparing himself for fatherhood for the first time in the New Year.

"I saw a lot of hate as a child growing up in east Belfast where the kerbstones were Loyalist red white and blue. I couldn't help getting involved so I experienced from an early age what hate really was.

"I now have the responsibility in North Herts and Stevenage to monitor and investigate hate crime which can be verbal abuse against people of different religion, mocking the sexual gender of a person or just being unpleasant and intimidating.

"Such behaviour affects the quality of life and makes it unbearable."

The warning from Pc Osoba is that all areas of hate crime, which can carry a prison sentence of up to two years, will not be tolerated.

"Don't stay silent if it happens to you," is his message.

"We can help.


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