Northumbria Police has said it is committed to tackling hate crime after a watchdog told forces throughout the country must increase efforts to probe incidents.
Northumbria Police and the Force’s Crime Commissioner have today reinforced their commitment to tackling the issue.
The message comes after Her Majesty's Inspectorate for Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) published a report into hate crime and encouraged Forces to make it a priority area.
Northumbria Police and Commissioner Dame Vera Baird QC say they want to reassure the public that hate crime is already a priority and are proud to be working with communities to tackle these type of offences and support victims.
The force has previously been praised for their positive work in tackling hate crime and was recognised with a national award at the end of last year.
They are also one of Stonewall's Top 100 employers on their Workplace Equality Index 2018 with numerous staff support associations looking after the welfare of officers and staff.
Dame Vera has funded a number of dedicated hate crime advocates to support minority communities across the region.
She also has advisory panels - age, LGBT, faith, ethnicity, gender and disability - to provide input on what Northumbria Police do well and what can be improved.
Dame Vera has promised that this proactive approach will continue.
She said: “Let me be absolutely clear – there is no place for hate crime in Northumbria.
"It’s really important that all victims feel safe and supported enough to report hate crimes - I want every person who faces hate crime to report it.
"We have specially-trained officers and staff in place to offer all the support that is needed.
"I will continue to work with the Chief Constable to ensure tackling hate crime remains a priority in Northumbria, and to get those who commit this type of crime before the courts.”
Assistant Chief Constable Ged Noble has also reiterated the Force’s commitment to tackling hate crime.
He said: "It is wholly unacceptable to abuse someone because of their race, age, sexual orientation, religion, disability or any other protected characteristic and we will stand together to stop this sort of prejudice.
"Hate crime is something which has been under-reported for a long time, but we have worked extremely hard to give victims the confidence to come forward.
"Our officers have an excellent understanding about what constitutes a hate crime and the additional support that can be provided to victims of this type of crime.
“It is vitally important that we ensure victims receive the support they need and ultimately feel safe.”
The report highlights the recording of offences as an integral part of dealing with hate crime.
The force are confident this is being achieved as it continues to deliver training to officers and staff to ensure opportunities are not missed to record incidents accurately and gain intelligence.
It says there are a number of different ways to report hate crime.
There are Safe Reporting Centres across the Northumbria force area as well as via third sector agencies such as True Vision and Tell Mamma and also online.
Information and advice on reporting hate crime, including specific information to access our online 101 form and third party reporting schemes can be found here.
Details regarding types of Hate Crime can be found by clicking here.
Remember to follow us on twitter @northumbriapol for advice and support and via the hashtag #BeingYouIsNotACrime