Reports of hate crime in Kent have increased by 75% in a year, according to data obtained by a Freedom Of Information request.
Kent Police received over 3,400 reports of hate crime in the 2017/18 financial year. This figure is up from under 2,000 in 2016/17.
Chief Superintendent Andy Pritchard from Kent Police’s public protection and partnerships department said: “Kent Police has been working to address the under-reporting of hate crime and the increase in reports, which reflects a national trend, indicates that more people have trust and confidence to report it.
“There has also been a significant improvement in how we record hate crime and a better understanding among officers about what constitutes a hate crime and the additional support and safeguarding that can be provided to victims.
“Officers and staff receive extensive training around hate crime with a number of our officers being recognised for their outstanding efforts in tackling the issue. For the past two-years Kent officers have been nominated in the Law Upstander category at the National Hate Crime Awards.
“Local PCSOs work hard to identify any potential issues in their wards and our Community Liaison Officers, together with partner agencies, work closely with the many diverse and sometimes hard-to-reach communities we have here in Kent.
Everyone has the right to live without harassment or the fear of crime – Ch Supt Pritchard of Kent Police
“Our officers have been working with partners to establish crime reporting hubs across the county. Staffed by specially trained volunteers they offer an additional outlet for people to report hate crime who may not necessarily feel that they can talk to a police officer.
“In addition to this we have multi-agency hate crime forum who work in partnership with the community to encourage reporting, raise awareness and gain the confidence from victims.”
Only 10% of the hate crime reports in 2017/18 led to someone being charged.
28% of reports were dropped because the victim chose to not prosecute.
A further 20% were dropped because of ‘evidential difficulties’.
Ch Supt Pritchard continued: “We have an independent hate crime advocate in Kent to ensure that the views and rights of every victim are represented throughout the criminal justice journey and that they are given the appropriate care and support.
“We continue to focus on building victim confidence so people don’t feel afraid to report crimes, and instead feel assured they will be listened to.
“Everyone has the right to live without harassment or the fear of crime, so we would encourage victims, family members, carers and the public to help us tackle the problem by reporting incidents to the police or our partners.”