Avon and Somerset Police are taking part in National Hate Crime Awareness Week to encourage victims to come forward following an increase in the crime.

They are working to increase understanding about what a hate crime is, how to report it and to remind people what they can do if they see hate crime happening in their community.

Hate crime is defined as ‘any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic.’

In the last 12 months 3,284 hate crimes have been reported, representing a 10 per cent increase in the last two years.

Avon and Somerset Police lead for Hate Crime Superintendent Andy Bennett said: “Tackling hate crime, in all of its forms, is a priority for us. We want to reduce the instances of it occurring. It is not acceptable.

“Anyone can be a victim. If you have been verbally or physically attacked, threatened, or subjected to malicious communication because of your gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, gender identify or because of a disability, please get in touch with us. And if you feel you can’t then please speak to a local charity or organisation.

“We know these figures don’t show the full picture so we are keen to encourage more victims to come forward. We are working to make Avon and Somerset a place where there is no home for hate.”