Hate crime up across Sussex

HATE crime has soared by a third across the county in the past year.

But this has been welcomed by Sussex Police who say it indicates a change in the culture of reporting such crime.

During the period April 2013 to March 2014, the total number of recorded crimes rose from 786 in 2012/13 to 1009 in 2013/14, an increase of 28 percent.

Chief Superintendent Wayne Jones, force lead for hate crime, said: “It is not often that you hear a senior police officer applauding the fact that crime has gone up, but I am pleased as it demonstrates growing trust and confidence in victims to report what is a most personal of crimes.

“However, we are not complacent. Although we see these figures as positive, we acknowledge we have much more to do to achieve a level of reporting that mirrors the full picture of hate-based harm experienced by many people across Sussex every day.

“It is even more saddening that a number of victims are targeted because of more than one personal characteristic.”

Reported hate crime against religious beliefs doubled from 35 to 71 and discrimination against disability from 48 - 80. Reported incidents of race hate rose from 564 to 731.

Sergeant Peter Allan, force hate crime sergeant said: “We have done a lot of work over the last year to raise the awareness of hate crime and its consequences, both internally and externally.

“Hate crime not only targets individuals for being who they are, but the hate-based behaviour of perpetrators can also have a wide reaching effect throughout marginalised groups and communities.

“We acknowledge that not everyone is comfortable reporting hate crime to the police for a variety of reasons. We are working hard to increase trust and confidence of victims and to make it easier for them to report directly to us.

“During the coming year we plan to continue our work with partner agencies who already take reports of hate crime, and others, to establish a network of Hate Incident Reporting Centres and Hate Crime Ambassadors in communities. We are also developing an updated version of our online reporting form which will have a ‘responsive’ design that will enable the form to format itself automatically depending on the device being used.

If you have been a victim of or have witnessed a hate crime call police on 101 or 999 an emergency. You can use an online reporting form http://bit.ly/1fTDYJ which can be found on the police website.