VICTIMS of hate crime in Coventry and Warwickshire should not be afraid to come forward, say police chiefs.
Hate crime, both locally and nationally, is under-reported, with an estimated half of all offences not being reported to police.
Warwickshire Police is hoping to change this with a new hate crime strategy aimed at giving victims the confidence to come forward.
The new strategy sets out the role police officers and staff will play in responding to and investigating hate crimes and the service victims can expect.
A new hate crime section has been set up on the force website with information for victims and organisations involved in tackling hate crime.
The strategy also makes specific mention of Islamophobic hate crime. Attacks on Muslims have increased in the wake of the recent terror attacks in London and Manchester.
Ch Supt Charles Hill said: “Despite a steady increase in the reporting of hate crimes in recent years we know that they are still underreported and this is why we felt it was important to set out exactly what victims can expect when they contact the police.
“Through this strategy we are aiming to ensure that we provide the highest standard of investigation, service and support to victims of hate crime. We’re also actively encouraging victims of hate crime to hold us to account.
“We’re setting high standards and we want to ensure we’re meeting them.
“We welcome the increased reporting in hate crime in the county in recent years because this shows that more victims are having the confidence to come forward and report their ordeal to police.
“However, each of these numbers represents someone who has been targeted because of who they are and this is wrong.
“Every time a victim comes forwards we are better equipped to tackle offenders and deal with problems in our communities.
“It is vital that victims of hate crime and our wider communities have high levels of confidence and satisfaction in the service we provide to them. There are still a lot of victims not coming forward so there is still work for us to do.
“The world has changed a lot since our last hate crime strategy was launched; following Brexit we saw a spike in hate crime reports and concerns around Islamophobic hate crime have also grown. This new strategy ensures we are equipped to continue to tackle hate crime and provide support to victims.”
Visit www.warwickshire.police.uk/hate-crime for further details.