Hate crime offences on the rise in Avon and Somerset

Almost a quarter of hate crimes went unpunished in Avon and Somerset in a year's period.

Almost a quarter of hate crimes went unpunished in Avon and Somerset in a year's period. - Credit: Pixabay

People responsible for hundreds of hate crime offences escaped jail time in Avon and Somerset over a year’s period.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary closed almost a quarter of reported religious and racially aggravated cases between September 2017-2018, Home Office figures reveal.

This is due to no suspect being identified for the crime and the highest proportion of people escaped jail for committing criminal damage offences.

Chairman of North Somerset BME Group Sayd Ahmed said: “There’s quite a few groups regarding this issue and I hear it’s being talked about in the community.

“I’ve experienced problems, a boy two years ago made racial comments over the phone to various shops over the space of two months.

“He was a young lad from Bridgwater and similar incidents have happened quite a few times.”

Sayd owns Pappadoms in Weston’s Milton Road and has lived in the area for 25 years.

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He continued: “The trouble is he didn’t understand the full extent of what he said.

“People are good at dealing with these types of complaints much better than 10 or 15 years ago and the police do take seriously.”

There were 1,634 reported hate crimes committed in Avon and Somerset over this period which includes cases of aggravated assault, harassment and criminal damage offenses.

A total of 62 cases were recorded for the latter and 63 per cent of which were closed by the police force.

The same was also done for 39 per cent of incidents concerning harassment in the catchment area.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Constabulary said: “There has been a general increase in the number of crimes reported to the force following the introduction of an improved system.

“We believe reports of hate crime are still significantly under-reported.

“When victims want to pursue matters through the criminal justice system we will support them fully in order to achieve best possible outcome.

“There is never an excuse for hate crime in any shape or form and this criminality will not be tolerated.”

“We will continue to work with our partner agencies to make these communities be safe and feel safe.”