The number of hate crimes reported to Sussex Police has risen by a third over the past 12 months.
During the period April 2014 to March 2015, a total of 1,352 hate crimes were recorded - an increase of 34 per cent from the 1,009 reported in 2013/14. The number of non-crime hate incidents also rose during the same period, from 299 in 2013/14 to 447 in 2014/15, an increase of 49.5 per cent.
Chief Superintendent Wayne Jones, force lead for hate crime, said, “We know that hate crimes and incidents in Sussex have been under reported - our goal remains to build confidence in victims to come forward and speak to us which is why I welcome these increases. We have worked very hard, both internally and externally to raise awareness of what constitutes hate crime and how people can report it.
“I am confident the positive work we have done is a significant factor in the increased levels of recorded hate crime. I do acknowledge however, that events that occur outside Sussex, and sometimes outside the country, can have an impact on the incidence of hate crime within the county.
“Our Neighbourhood Policing Teams are firmly embedded in local communities and work with them to offer reassurance and support when needed.
“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 http://bit.ly/1fTDYJh which can be found on our website at - www.sussex.police.uk.”
Reports made to the police that constitute a hate crime are divided into separate strands. Hate crimes regarding disability rose from 80 in 13/14 to 106 in 14/15, while hate crimes about race rose from 731 to 961. Hate crimes involving religion rose from 71 to 106, involving sexual orientation rose from 144 to 230 and surrounding transgenders rose from 24 to 28.
Sergeant Peter Allan, force hate crime sergeant 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, which is a particular challenge for all the criminal justice agencies.
“To enable us to tackle this most personal of crimes and support victims, we need people to come forward to report incidents to us. I would urge them to do so.
“During the coming year, as well as continuing the work already mentioned, we will be working to understand the levels of hate crime at a sub-strand level, for example the number of crimes and incidents that target different faiths, ethnic groups and types of disability. We will also be focussing on the outcomes of cases, especially how many cases at court are subject to a sentence uplift.”
Beverley Smith, a coordinator of the Disability Hate Crime Network said, “Disability Hate Crime is hugely under-reported in the UK for a number of reasons.
“The successful work that Sussex Police continue to do to improve confidence in reporting is showing sustained increases in the number of reports to them.
“I am pleased to be working with Sussex Police to support their work. Hatred and hostility is not a part of the deal of being a disabled person. I urge people to report all incidents and crimes to the police so that these can be properly dealt with.”