'Being you is not a crime': Northamptonshire Police launch hate crime awareness week
Victims of hate crime in Northampton should report any and all incidents no matter how small it might seem, police say.
Northamptonshire Police want residents to come forward whenever they feel targetted by hate as part of a national week of action.
It comes as the force yesterday (October 16) launched national Hate Crime Awareness Week and announced they are also the first in the country to class gender-based hostility as a hate crime.
Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Swann said: "Some people don't feel they are a victim of hate crime, they think we won't believe them, or take them seriously, or just won't be able to help.
"We want to give people the confidence to report hate crime to us.
"Not everything will be a crime. But it can be just as hurtful and upsetting. It's not a crime to be yourself."
Police say hate crime is any criminal offence or incident that is perceived by the victim or any other person, whether a witness, friend or family member, as being motivated by prejudice or hate.
They say every report can help build up a picture of repeat offenders in an area and can point to other criminal behaviours.
Superintendent Chris Hillery said: "Hate crime and incidents increase after immediately after a terror attack. I've been to the incident and I see the graphs go up.
"People don't feel safe going to pray, or walking their children to school, or taking public transport.This has no place in our society and no place in Northamptonshire.
"This is an opportunity to focus our efforts as partners and a community."
National Hate Crime Awareness Week runs from October 14 to 21.
Victims of hate crime can contact the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency. They can also use the "report it" page on the True Vision charity website or contact their local authority.