Hate crime on the increase in Sussex

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SUSSEX Police dealt with almost three times as many hate crimes against disabled people in the past year, according to latest figures.

As part of the force’s campaign during national Hate Crime Awareness Week, police in the county have revealed they dealt 36 hate crimes against the disabled in 2011/12 compared to just 13 the previous year.

The number of racist crimes in Sussex doubled from 581 to 1,101 during the previous 12 months, religious crimes grew from 28 to 51, homophobic crime also increased from 117 to 228 and there was a rise of four to 12 in gender crime compared to the year earlier.

Chief Inspector Ali Darge from Protecting Vulnerable People Branch, Sussex Police, said: “We recognise that all forms of hate crime are under-reported, and tackling this remains one of Sussex Police’s main priorities.

“We are working hard to raise awareness of what hate crime is, how to report it and the support available to victims.”

During this week, Sussex Police is planning a number of initiatives to highlight to problem, including staging a hate crime vigil in Brighton on Saturday, October 20 from 7pm.

In a statement, Sussex Police said: “We take hate crime seriously; whether it is religious, ethnic, sexual orientation, transgender or disability based hate crime we will listen and take appropriate action.

“It can be hard for people to know what hate crime is, often it can seem like anti social behaviour, or assault; we encourage people to question the reason this has happened and if it stems from hate to let us know so that we can do something about it.”