Racially motivated hate crimes have increased by almost a quarter in Hartlepool in the last year according to official figures.
They make up the vast majority of all hate incidents reported to police and are said to be linked to abuse of takeaway workers.
More than half of hate crimes in the town are confined to the Victoria and Burn Valley wards, which include the town centre.
The Safer Hartlepool Partnership will discuss the worrying rising trends around the issue and new guidance on prosecuting those responsible when they meet later week.
Saturday marked the start of National Hate Crime Awareness Week, which encourages local organisations, councils and police to work with communities to stage awareness events and promote a message of hope.
A report of Denise Ogden, of Hartlepool Borough Council to the Safer Hartlepool Partnership, states: “Local analysis demonstrates the continuing importance of Partnership work to improve the reporting of hate crime, together with the support provided by the Community Safety Team and the Victim Support Service in supporting victims of hate, and the Safer Hartlepool Partnership sub-groups will continue to take a proactive approach towards tackling hate crime in Hartlepool.”
Between September 2016 to August 2017, there were 167 recorded hate incidents in Hartlepool.
They comprised of 128 racial attacks, 24 based on sexual orientation, 12 due to disability, two transgender, and one linked to a person’s religion.
The report added: “Racially motivated incidents are following an increasing trend with incidents increasing by 22% (23 incidents) during the period September 2016 to August 2017 when compared to the same period in the previous year.”
Partnership was previously told of an increase in racially motivated incidents in town between April 2015 and July 2016, with the majority of victims identified as people working in takeaways or convenience stores.
It led to a poster being produced for businesses to display and show that hate will not be tolerated on their premises.
The partnership says the Community Safety Team continues to take a proactive approach to tackling hate with third party reporting centres promoted via the council’s Heartbeat magazine and social media accounts, and support provided to victims.