Police encourage people to report hate crime as cases in Suffolk and Essex increase

Police are encouraging people to report hate crimes Picture: SIMON PARKER

Police are encouraging people to report hate crimes Picture: SIMON PARKER

Hate crime in Suffolk has increased by 31% this year with more than 1,000 people reporting crimes to the police.

The newly released statistics show that there were 1,156 offences related to hate crime this year in Suffolk, up from 796 in 2017.

Those crimes included 565 related to race, 49 related to religion and 138 related to sexual orientation.

During the same period Essex saw an increase of 12% to 2,197 offences, up from 1,928 the previous year.

A hate crime is defined as any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic.

A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said: “Our message is clear – to target hate at a person because of their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender is a crime that can have a devastating impact upon individuals and communities.

“We work hard to raise awareness of what a hate crime is, meaning we now receive more reports.

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“We would urge anyone experiencing hate crime to give details to the police or to any third party reporting agencies. Each hate crime that is not reported is a missed opportunity to support the victim.”

In total, there were 94,098 hate crimes in England and Wales, an increase of 17% on last year and every sub-category has increased on the previous year’s levels.

Peaks in hate crimes were seen following major events such as the Manchester bombing and the EU referendum with the highest number of offences being recorded in the summer of 2017 following terrorist attacks.

East Anglia housed the two counties with the highest proportion of disability related hate crimes, Suffolk being the worst with 32.7% with Norfolk just behind with 32%.

Pat Ramsey, who works at the Ipswich Disabled Advice Bureau, said: “Suffolk is very good at encouraging people to come forward when they have experienced any type of hate crime.

“There are also a large number of disabled people in the area in comparison to the national average which could lead to more hate crime towards them being reported.

“Having said that, these figures are too definitely too high.”

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