Worship centres sought to help hate crime initiative

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Police are encouraging people to report incidents of hate crimes Police are encouraging people to report incidents of hate crimes

A campaign has been launched to encourage more people to report hate crimes as only one in five victims are believed to come forward.

Launching the initiative yesterday, Detective Constable Phil Merriam of Essex Police, said research suggests only 20 per cent of offences are recorded.

The campaign will see reporting centres set up in community buildings, such as mosques, synagogues and churches to increase public confidence.

Each centre will have two staff members trained by police.

It is hoped 10 to 12 reporting centres will be established in Epping Forest, and every other district in Essex, after successful pilots in Southend, Basildon and Chelmsford.

Members of the public will also be encouraged to become Hate Crime Ambassadors.

They will receive police accredited training and be tasked with attending events in their communities to promoting hate crime awareness, as well as being taking reports of offences.

A hate crime is defined as an offence which is perceived as motivated by the victim's race, ethnic origin, faith, gender, disability or sexual orientation. 

The website, www.stopthehate.org.uk, has also been launched alongside the campaign to take reports of offences

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