Recorded hate crime has risen by a quarter in Sussex over the past year, but the increase is seen as encouraging by Sussex Police.
During the period April 2015 to March 2016, the total number of recorded crimes rose from 1352 in 2014/15 to 1728 in 2015/16, an increase of 28%.
The number of non-crime hate incidents also rose during the same period, from 447 in 2014/15 to 502 in 2015/16, an increase of 12%.
Assistant chief constable Laurence Taylor, who has responsibility for local policing across Sussex, said: “We know that hate crimes and incidents in Sussex and across the country are under reported - our goal remains to build confidence in victims to come forward and speak to us, which is why I am encouraged by these increases.
“These also follow a large increase last year (34%). We have worked very hard, both internally and externally to raise awareness of what constitutes hate crime and how people can report it to us.”
She added: “I am confident that the positive work we have done in relation to increasing awareness, especially through our Hate Crime Ambassador initiative, the publicising of successful cases and our online engagement activities have been a significant factor in the increased levels of recorded hate crime.
“If you have been a victim of or have witnessed a hate crime, I would urge you to call us on 101 or 999 if it is an emergency. “For those who would prefer, you can use our online reporting form which can be found on our website at sussex.police.uk”
Sergeant Peter Allan, force hate crime sergeant and Trans Equality Advocate said: “I am pleased to see that we have recorded more hate crimes and incidents over the last year, especially in the area of disability where we have done so much work both internally and externally.
“Victims of transphobic hate face many challenges and I understand how difficult it must be to report the abuse they have suffered.
“We are working really hard with other criminal justice partners to ensure that such cases are dealt with sensitively and professionally.”
Eric Page, who works for the LGBT Community Safety Team at Brighton and Hove City Council said: “It’s good news to see once again that LGBT hate crime being reported to Sussex Police is up, but we know that a lot of hate crime and incidents go unreported, for a whole range of reasons.
“You don’t have to put up with it. I would encourage anyone who has been harmed by LGB or T hate-motivated crime or witnessed any LGBT hate crime to report it.
“Every report helps Sussex Police to build a true picture of the extent of hate crime and where and when it is happening.”
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