WARWICKSHIRE Police and West Mercia Police have made a commitment to provide all victims of hate crime with a personalised service with the launch of a new hate crime strategy.

The strategy, launched today, sets out the role police officers and staff will play in responding to and investigating hate crimes and the service victims can expect.

The strategy also makes specific mention of Islamophobic hate crime for the first time with a direct reference to the Tell MAMA campaign that aims to address and monitor offences against Muslims.

A new hate crime section has been set up on the West Mercia Police website to support the new strategy.

This includes details of the various ways of reporting hate crime, details of the service victims can expect, links to a range of hate crime materials, and details of local hate crime priorities.

Chief superintendent Charles Hill said: “Despite a steady increase in the reporting of hate crimes in recent years we know that they are still underreported and this is why we felt it was important to set out exactly what victims can expect when they contact the police.

“From the moment a victim of hate crime contacts the police they should have the confidence that they will receive the highest levels of service.

"This new policy clearly identifies the roles that officers and staff have to play at each stage of a hate crime investigation."

He added: “It is vital that victims of hate crime and our wider communities have high levels of confidence and satisfaction in the service we provide to them. There are still a lot of victims not coming forward so there is still work for us to do.

“The world has changed a lot since our last hate crime strategy was launched; following Brexit we saw a spike in hate crime reports and concerns around Islamophobic hate crime have also grown. This new strategy ensures we are equipped to continue to tackle hate crime and provide support to victims.”

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion added: “Tackling hate crime is a priority for me. I want to create safer communities, which work together to challenge negative beliefs and attitudes.

“I promised to put victims first, ensuring those who are subjected to hate crimes get the help they need to cope and recover, this strategy tied in with my Victims Charter delivers on this."

Hate crime, both locally and nationally, is underreported, with an estimated half of all offences not being reported to police.