By Dan Santy Wednesday 19 September 2012 Updated: 20/09 10:47
ALARMING new figures show the vast majority of hate crimes reported in Warwickshire are motivated by racism.
The Home Office revealed 295 incidents were recorded in the county between April 2011 and 2012.
And 262 of them were linked to racial hatred, while just five were linked to religion, 19 to sexual orientation, eight to disability and one to do with transgender.
The pattern fits in with the national figures. Of 43,748 hate crimes reported in England and Wales, four in five were linked to racial prejudice.
Hate crime is defined as 'any incident where the perpetrator's hostility or prejudice against an identifiable group of people is a factor in determining who is victimised'.
Warwickshire Race and Equality Partnership (WREP) has expressed shock at the fact the vast majority of incidents in the county were racist.
Charity manager, Junaid Hussain, said: "Any incident of hate crime is one too many but the figures recently published show an alarming number of race hate crimes being reported.
"This is clearly worrying for us as we have also seen an increase of 43 per cent in the number of race hate crimes reported directly to us last year.
"What is further disturbing is that I believe the published figures do not represent the true extent of hate crimes across Warwickshire or nationally because of those victims and witnesses that are suffering but do not have the confidence to report the incident."
Mr Hussain added there was much work to be done in raising awareness of hate crimes and encouraging the victims to have the confidence to come forward and report them.
Warwickshire Police echoed these views and said anyone who had suffered or was aware of such incidents should take action.
Earlier this year the force launched a new initiative, Response and Engagement Against Crimes of Hate (REACH), which involves teaching communities what hate crime is and how it can be reported.
Ch Insp Mike Slemensek said: "I welcome the publication of the hate crime statistics, but there are many more people suffering than the figures suggest.
"Therefore I urge anyone who has been a victim, or is aware of somone who has, to report it. The sooner we know the sooner we can do something to help support the victims of hate crime and bring offenders to justice."
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