Cambridgeshire police back campaign to support hate crime victims

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Cambridgeshire police are joining a week-long campaign to encourage victims to report hate crimes.

Hate Crime Awareness Week, which takes place from October 8 to October 15 aims to tackle offending, encourage reporting and raise public awareness of what constitutes a crime.

A hate crime is a criminal offence which is perceived by the victim, or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice or hate.

Throughout the week, Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite and his deputy Andy Coles will be holding street surgeries across the county.

The surgeries in Cambridge, March, Peterborough, Ely, Huntingdon and Cambourne will allow people to raise concerns and discuss or learn more about issues surrounding hate crime.

This year, in Cambridgeshire, there were 80 hate crimes in April, 79 in May, 92 in June, 107 in July, 70 in August and 91 in September.

In 2015, there were 50 in April, 47 in May, 46 in June, 58 in July, 51 in August and 62 in September.

Detective Inspector Dean Wiffin said world events, such as the Orlando shooting and the murder of a Catholic priest in France, together with the reported increase in hate crimes following the EU Referendum may have left people feeling more vulnerable.

He said: “Although a rise in hate crime is always concerning, if these events have raised awareness and resulted in people reporting when they maybe wouldn’t have done so before, then it’s a good thing.

“Under-reporting is a factor we’re focusing on because, more often than not, those affected by hate crime are too frightened or intimidated to come forward or do not recognise they are victims.

“I would encourage victims, family members, carers and the public to help us tackle the problem by reporting incidents to the police or our partners. Everyone has the right to live without harassment or fear of crime.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite said: “I encourage victims and witnesses of hate crime to report incidents to the police without fear - you will be taken seriously and treated with sensitivity.

“Whether it is based on race, disability, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity – if it affects you - report it. As Police and Crime Commissioner I am committed to ensuring this crime is taken seriously and responded to.”

People can report hate crime by calling 101, or 999 in an emergency, or via the Cambridgeshire Constabulary website. Alternatively, if people would prefer not to go directly to the police, they can report incidents online via the third party reporting scheme True Vision. This can be accessed via www.report-it.org.uk/.