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Thursday, 21 August 2014

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Number of hate crimes fallen by half - Cumbria police

HATE crime reported in the south and west Cumbria has halved in the past five years, an Evening Mail freedom of information request revealed.

The data is of reported incidents of homophobia, racism and other prejudice including towards disabled people in Barrow, Millom and Ulverston.

It shows a reduction from 54 reported cases of hate crime in Barrow in 2009 to 27 in 2013.

Police have highlighted a problem with victims not reporting crimes and despite the dramatic change in the number reported say they “must not get complacent”.

They also said they hope to eradicate this type of crime.

Detective Chief Inspector Bob Qazi said: “The number of hate crimes recorded in the Barrow area is relatively low compared to some other areas of the country.

“However, we know that we must not get complacent as we would like to eradicate this type of crime completely. We do recognise that a large number of such crimes go unreported for a number of reasons.”

He said people from minority groups could have less confidence in reporting it or feel the matters are too trivial for to be investigated.

DCI Qazi added: “We are committed to investigating hate crime to the highest standard and would encourage anybody who feels they have been a victim to come forward to us.”

Furness Multicultural Community Forum has recently employed a new hate crime worker to deal with incidents and educate people about the problems victims face.

The role has been funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner Community Fund.

Lee Wicks, chairman of Friends and Supporters of the Furness LGBT Community, who has fallen victim to this type of crime, said he has noticed a difference in the past five years.

Mr Wicks, who is part of the Independent Police Advisory Group, added: “I personally have noticed overall a decrease in hate crime reporting from the beginning of this year till present. There have, however, been some isolated occurrences of transphobic incidents towards female transgender people.”

He also said officers deal with incidents sensitively and discreetly.

The group formed in 2010 after a spate of attacks. They also work with Trans Lakes Nights transgender group to dispel myths and educate about transgender issues.

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