VICTIMS of hate crimes such as homophobia and racism across Hartlepool can now report incidents online.
Cleveland Police are supporting a new website called True Vision that offers support to people who have suffered because of prejudice.
The website is being backed by all forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to make sure all hate crimes are reported.
Inspector Mark Hall, from the communities and partnerships department of Cleveland Police, said: “The website was created to help increase the reporting of hate crimes and incidents by building confidence in victims and offering a range of reporting options for victims, who may not wish to talk directly to the police.”
The site provides information for victims and the public about what a hate crime is and why it is important to report it as soon as possible.
It also sets out the range of ways that hate crimes can be reported, including via a new online reporting form, and provides links to organisations that can offer support and advice on hate crime related issues.
Cleveland Police chiefs believe that there are still hate crimes going unreported in the area.
Insp Hall said: “Hate crimes cause a great deal of fear among victims and damages communities. While we are committed to reducing the incidence of hate crime, it is vital that we close the gap of under-reporting.
“Only by increasing reporting can we gain a better understanding of the extent of hate crime, and I urge victims and witnesses to use the True Vision website and to continue to come forward so we can bring the perpetrators to justice.”
In November 2010, the Association of Chief Police Officers published its first set of national hate crime recorded crime statistics which showed that during 2009 the police recorded 52,028 hate crimes.
To access the website, log on to this story at www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk
The website can be accessed at www.report-it.org.uk