Race hate crime reports increase

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RACE hate crime is on the rise in Peterborough, with the number of victims up by 20 per cent.

RACE hate crime is on the rise in Peterborough, with the number of victims up by 20 per cent.According to police figures, there were 81 incidents of racially or religiously aggravated crime between July 2008 and July 2009, up from 66 in the same period the previous year.

These crimes range from swastikas daubed on buildings to verbal and physical attacks.

The number of crimes tagged with a “hate crime marker” – when a victim believes an incident has undertones of racism, homophobia or another type of discrimination – were even higher with 269 offences in 2008/2009, an increase of 26 on the previous year.

But the actual figure is thought to be greater because many people are too frightened to report it.

Pakistan Community Association of Peterborough chairman Ghulam Shabbir said police were not doing enough to tackle the issue.

He said: “I’m absolutely certain a very high percentage of hate crime doesn’t get reported because of how the whole system is designed.

“Many don’t bother to report it because they don’t know it is a hate crime, and think they have to put up with it.

“But in this day and age, nobody should be subjected to this type of abuse.”

Detective Constable Robert Sansom said police were committed to solving hate crimes and urged victims to come forward.

He said: “We are aware that people don’t always report crimes to us, but we would prefer it if they did.

“Peterborough is a very diverse community and anywhere where you get lots of colours and creeds, there are always going to be tensions. It’s human nature.

“We want to stamp this out and help people come forward.”

Hate crime co-ordinator for the Safer Peterborough Partnership Clare Sharman said an increase in incidents didn’t necessarily mean the problem had got worse, but more people were reporting them.

She said: “What horrifies me is the range of hate crime. It’s not just race, it’s sexuality, gender, disability.

“Everyone that lives in the community should feel safe and secure and come and go as they please without fear of intimidation or harassment.”

Where to call if you are a victim

There are 31 hate crime reporting centres across the city, including New Link and all the Cross Keys offices.

People concerned about hate crime can phone 999 in an emergency, or police on 0845 456 4564 for non-emergency calls.

They can also call a 24-hour Stop Hate Crime helpline on 0800 1231625.