County hate crime up but down in town

Police are thought to be investigating the incident outside Bishop Luffa School
Police are thought to be investigating the incident outside Bishop Luffa School

Hate crime in Crawley has dropped in the past year despite rising sharply across the rest of the county.

Figures released by Sussex Police show 166 hate crimes were reported in the town in 2014/15 compared to 173 the year before.

In addition, there were 79 non-criminal incidents compared to 85 the year before.

The majority of this year’s crimes were race-related (126), there were 17 homophobic crimes, nine against disabled people, three transphobic crimes and 11 related to religion.

A police spokesman said many incidents had taken place around the town’s clubs, pubs and taxi ranks and officers had “carried out proactive policing activity” to stamp it out.

County wide it was a different story with the number of reported hate crimes rising by more than 300 in the past year.

The news was welcomed by police who said the more such incidents were reported the more they could do to tackle the issue.

Sergeant Peter Allan, force hate crime sergeant, said: “I am pleased to see that we have recorded more hate crimes and incidents over the last year, especially in the area of disability, which is a particular challenge for all the criminal justice agencies.

“To enable us to tackle this most personal of crimes and support victims, we need people to come forward to report incidents to us. I would urge them to do so.”

Between April 2014 to March 2015, the total number of recorded crimes rose from 1,009 (in 2013/14) to 1,352 (in 2014/15), an increase of 34 per cent. The number of non-crime hate incidents also rose during the same period, from 299 to 447, an increase of 49.5 per cent.

There were 961 race crimes, 106 disability crimes, 106 related to religion, 230 aimed at people’s sexual orientation and 28 transgender crimes.

Chief Superintendent Wayne Jones, force lead for hate crime, said: “We know that hate crimes and incidents in Sussex have been under reported – our goal remains to build confidence in victims to come forward and speak to us which is why I welcome these increases.”

Beverley Smith, a co-ordinator of the Disability Hate Crime Network, said, “Disability hate crime is hugely under-reported in the UK for a number of reasons. The successful work that Sussex Police continue to do to improve confidence in reporting is showing sustained increases in the number of reports to them.”