Increase in hate crime reports made to police


- Credit: Archant

A crackdown on hate crime has been announced by Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

A week-long campaign is taking place to encourage victims to have the courage to speak out.

The number of hate crimes reported across the force area has increased by 10 per cent in the past two years, with 3,284 incidents reported over the past 12 months – almost nine a day.

Hate crimes can vary, with the most common catalyst being racial, while also gender-based incidents are also on the rise.

Superintendent Andy Bennett, Avon and Somerset police’s lead for hate crime, said: “Tackling hate crime, in all of its forms, is a priority for us.

“Our Chief Constable wants us to be outstanding in how we tackle this.

“More people seem to be reporting hate crime but we want to reduce the instances of it occurring. It is not acceptable.

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“Anyone can be a victim of hate crime. If you have been verbally or physically attacked, threatened, or subjected to malicious communication because of your gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, gender identification or because of a disability, please get in touch with us.

“And if you feel you can’t then please speak to a local charity or organisation.”

Police believe despite the rising number of reported hate crimes, the full scale of the problem is not fully known.

Supt Bennett added: “We know these figures don’t show the full picture so we are keen to encourage more victims to come forward.

“We are working to make Avon and Somerset a place where there is no home for hate.”

The comments come as part of the police’s involvement in National Hate Crime Awareness Week.

More than 2,000 racially-aggravated hate crimes were reported last year – 61 per cent of the overall total.

Police believe though there are many cases of crimes motivated by disability or sexual orientation discrimination which are not as yet reported to them.

Anyone who wishes to report a non-emergency hate crime, can call the police on 101.