Police in Cambridgeshire are encouraging victims and witnesses of hate crime to come forward and report incidents as part of a week long campaign.
Hate Crime Awareness Week aims to tackle the issue, encourage reporting and inform the public of what constitutes this type of offence.
A hate crime can be defined as a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice or hate.
Nationally it is recognised that hate crime is under-reported. It is hoped that by raising awareness, more people will come forward to report incidents and help prevent further crimes taking place.
The majority of hate crime comes under five categories, race, sexual orientation, religion, transgender or disability.
Home Office statistics published this week show a 25% increase in disability hate crime.
People can report hate crimes 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 tool True Vision. This can be accessed via www.report-it.org.uk/.
Detective Inspector Lindsay Harbour said: “We want to raise awareness of hate crime and encourage people to report incidents.
“More often than not, those that are affected by hate crime are too frightened or intimidated to come forward, or do not recognise that they are victims. By raising awareness, we hope to encourage victims, family members, carers and the public to spot the signs and inform the police or partners.
“Hate crime remains under reported, and the only way we can change this is by informing people what hate crime is, reassuring victims that this form of offending will not be tolerated and that help is available.
“Hate can take many forms and may those affected may experience anything from neighbour disputes and name calling, to arson or assault.
“We encourage victims and witnesses of hate crime to report incidents to the police without fear - you will be taken seriously and treated with sensitivity.”
Sir Graham Bright, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire said: “It is important that victims of hate crime have the courage to come forward and report offences. 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.”