A surge in the number of hate crime victims who report incidents to the police has been welcomed by Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins.
Latest figures show a big increase in reports since May when the county-wide Hate Crime Strategy and Awareness campaign was launched.
The Commissioner said: “It’s great news that many more victims are now getting the message and refusing to suffer in silence.
“It’s so important that people who find themselves abused in this way report incidents to the police. Nobody should put up with this odious type of crime, and I am delighted that victims are becoming increasingly confident in reporting it. The police can - and do - prosecute those responsible, but first they need to know what’s happening.”
Reporting in the five months ending in September has increased by around a third compared with the same period last year, and is already higher than for the whole year preceding Mr Martins’ election as Commissioner.
Speaking during National Hate Crime Awareness Week, he went on: “No-one should think they have to put up with hate crime of any description. Reporting it is not only about putting a stop to it, it’s about seeking and accepting support so that they can get on with their lives.”
Hate crime and hate incidents include physical attacks to someone or their property, threats such as offensive letters or phone calls, verbal abuse such as in offensive posters and gestures, or bullying at school or work.
Hate crimes are those motivated by prejudice, bigotry or intolerance on the grounds of disability, gender identity, race and ethnicity, religion or belief and sexual orientation.