A total of 676 hate crimes were reported in Swindon and Wiltshire between April 2018 and March 2019 compared to last year's figure (2017/2018) of 554. This is a 22 per cent increase in overall hate crime in the county, however it represents only 2% of all reported crimes in the whole of Wiltshire and Swindon.
Five "hate crime strands" are currently monitored for offences, they are: race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.
2017/2018 = 38
2018/2019 = 61
2017/2018 = 10
2018/2019 = 27
2017/2018 = 55
2018/2019 = 93
Racial hate crime remains the biggest of all reported hate crimes and rose by 51 from 442 to 493 in 2018/2019. However, there was a reduction in the number of reported religious hate crimes in the past 12 months, down 11 from 37 last year to 26 this year.
Superintendent Mark Calland, Force lead for Hate Crime, said: “I welcome these latest figures which indicate the overall hate crime picture in our county has risen.
"I see the increase in part as a positive as it shows more and more people are aware of what hate crime is and are coming forward to report it. For example, historically, the number of reported hate crimes against someone's sexual orientation were very low; as you can see we are seeing an increase - this being an indication that more people are now reporting it.
"We want everyone to have the confidence to report these types of crimes and keep reporting them.
"There is never any excuse for hate crime; as a Force we take all reports seriously and will respond robustly to anyone committing these crimes.
"Our message is, we will pursue and prosecute anyone where there's evidence that this type of frightening and distressing crime has been committed."
“No-one should feel threatened or unsafe because of who they are, the life they live and beliefs they hold; we are all human irrespective of race, sexuality or religion. Everyone deserves to be able to live peacefully in our world with all its wonderful diversity.
"I lead the county's multi-agency hate crime group which brings together police, local councils, victim support services and the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure we are working together to tackle these appalling crimes.
"We all need to work together to stop hate crime - please report it if you are a victim or you know someone who has been targeted. The police will take you seriously.
"Also, you will receive the utmost care from Horizon - the victim and witness care service. Victim Support can also offer emotional and practical help to those affected by crime."
To report hate crime: