West Mercia Police is reinforcing its commitment to tackle all forms of hate crime as the Home Office continues its Hate Crime Campaign.

The campaign previously launched in October 2018 to raise awareness to the public of what hate crime is.

It will help to increase awareness and understanding of what constitutes hate crime.

West Mercia Police Assistant Chief Constable Martin Evans said: “Many people think a hate crime is just about race and religion or physical violence, however, hate crime can come in many more forms which people might not realise is a criminal offence.”

A hate crime is classed as such when the actions of the offender is motivated by prejudice based on the protected characteristics of a person’s identity.

Protected characteristics, which are defined by the Equality Act, include age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

ACC Evans added: “A hate crime is not just physical violence it can include online and verbal abuse as well as harassment, intimidation, threats and bullying or damage to property based on prejudices.

“Being a victim of hate crime can have a huge impact on victims, no-one should be targeted by criminal behaviour simply because of who they are. It’s not acceptable in our society and will not be tolerated.

“We work closely with our independent advisory groups to make sure we’re doing all we can to tackle hate crime and make sure when people do come forward and report an incident to us they have the right support and are dealt with in a sensitive and compassionate manner and I would like to offer my assurances that we will deal with those committing hate crimes robustly.

“If anyone thinks they have been a victim of a hate crime we would urge them to get in contact with us so we can take action, likewise if someone witnesses a hate crime we would ask them to let us know. By working together we can really make a different in eradicating hate crime from our society.”

To find out more about the Home Office’s campaign visit www.gov.uk/hatecrime