Suffolk: Racism incidents reported to police rise 62% in Suffolk – highest annual increase in country by 44%

Campaigners last night raised concerns that victims of hate crimes are “normalising” the offence and suffering “long-term trauma”.

And Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner, pledged to tackle the issue and reverse the trend.

Government data shows there was a 62% increase in the number of racism incidents reported to Suffolk Constabulary over the past year, from 294 in 2011/12 to 477 in 2012/13.

Out of 48 police forces in England and Wales, the next largest increase was 18% in West Mercia. Thirty-three forces saw the figure drop.

In Suffolk, the longer-term trend showed a different picture, with reported racist incidents falling from 602 in 2008/09, a 21% decline to the 2012/13 figure.

Police chiefs and equality campaigners argued the steep rise was due to a growing confidence in the system, insisting more volunteers are working in improved partnerships to encourage victims of hate crime to come forward.

The research, released yesterday by the Ministry of Justice, also showed the number of police recorded racially or religiously aggravated offences fell by 21% over the same five-year period, from 316 to 251.

Yvette Gallagher is a project officer at the Suffolk Hate Crime Partnership, a Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Constabulary joint operation which supports people who experience hate crimes.

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