A rise in hate crime in Hartlepool has been linked to Brexit and international terror attacks.
Between April and June, 43 hate incidents were recorded, up more than a quarter compared to the same period last year.
Community safety officials and police believe it is linked to the debate and decision to quit the European Union, and recent terror atrocities in countries such as France.
The issue was discussed at a meeting of the Safer Hartlepool Partnership, whose members include councillors, police chiefs, the fire service and public health leaders.
Clare Clark, head of community safety for Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We have seen a slight rise in hate crime incidents which may well be related to issues around the EU referendum.”
She said more detailed information would be brought back to the next partnership meeting to give a bigger picture of the problem adding: “It is something we are all very concerned about.”
The ripples of those tragic events which have been happening in France are felt here to varying degreesGordon Lang, Cleveland Police
Chief Superintendant Gordon Lang of Cleveland Police said: “My own personal view is this is clearly linked to world events. The ripples of those tragic events which have been happening in France are felt here to varying degrees every time something happens.
“Sometimes its relatively quiet, if that’s the right word, sometimes it’s significant. This is an area where I think we can all step up.
“My own personal view is hate crime needs the same focus as domestic violence; zero tolerance, up the ante and really push the boat out.”
Chief Supt Lang said the force had recently received a five point action plan around hate crime from the Home Office and will be required to demonstrate what is happening to tackle it.
He is to prepare a report on efforts already going on and bring it to the partnership to develop.
Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, chair of the partnership, said: “We are in discussions around the Face the Public event later this year which is going to be tackling racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia.”
Overall, recorded crime is up 1.6% (32 incidents) for the first quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2015.
The biggest increases have been in shoplifting at 28.5%, repeated domestic violence with a 32% spike and local violence up by 12%.
But home burglaries are down by almost half, arson by almost a third and there have been 80 fewer anti-social behaviour complaints.