04:51PM, Thursday 27 June 2019
The number of racist crimes recorded in the Thames Valley has risen by nearly 70 per cent in the last year.
According to statistics released by Thames Valley Police (TVP), 196 racist incidents that were recorded as crimes took place in 2018/19,
compared to 116 in both 2016/17 and 2017/18, a rise of 69 per cent.
A racist incident is defined as one in which the victim thinks actions, such as verbal abuse or bullying, is motivated by hostility or prejudice towards their race.
A racist incident is considered a racist crime when the law is broken.
An assault or criminal damage motivated by racial prejudice would be considered a racist hate crime.
Supt Rebecca Mears, TVP head of local policing, said she was pleased that more people had found the confidence to come forward to report racist incidents.
She said: “We are aware that hate crime is under-reported and this is also reflected nationally.
“We positively encourage people to report hate crimes directly to Thames Valley Police or via the third party Victims First.
“The fact we are seeing increases in the number of people who are contacting us is a good sign that victims have the confidence to report.
“It also assists us and gives us a better picture of where hate crimes and incidents are being committed.”
Highlighting the potential reasons for the rise in crime rate, she said:
“It could reflect an increasing awareness that hate crimes are not acceptable in any walk of life or section of society.
“It is also associated with improved crime reporting.
She added: “As a result of an audit that was carried out in October 2017, Thames Valley Police has made improvements to crime recording processes.”
Although racist incidents classified as crimes has risen to 196, the number of incidents is roughly the same – 219 in 2017/18 and 231 in 2018/19.
Supt Mears credits an ‘improved recording process’ with the increased crime rate.
She added that TVP carries out regular training to ensure crime and incidents are flagged correctly.
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