Community groups from across Sussex are coming together to discuss the issues people face when reporting hate crime.
On Wednesday March 20 a Hate Crime Forum will be held at Slaugham Manor, near Handcross.
It will involve individuals from Sussex Police, local councils, religious organisations, members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) and Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities and those with disabilities, who will talk about what stops people from reporting hate crime and what can be done to break these barriers down and encourage reporting.
The aim of the day is to increase trust and establish a consistent and effective means of reporting hate crime in Sussex.
Hate crimes and incidents are those which are perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender.
In 2011 Sussex Police dealt with 676 reports of hate crime, 524 of which were said to have been motivated by the victim’s race.
In the same year Sussex Police ranked 23 out of the 45 police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for the highest number of recorded hate crimes.
Around 70 people are expected to attend the Hate Crime Forum which has been arranged and organised by Inspector David Derrick from Sussex Police.
Insp Derrick said: “We are bringing these communities together with all Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) Inspectors from across the force and hate crime managers from local councils to work with communities affected in breaking down barriers which prevent them from reporting incidents of hate crime.
“During the forum facilitators will steer participants to help Sussex Police and our partners at local councils form an action plan to support our ambition to increase trust and confidence in these communities.”
Insp Derrick works in the Force’s Protecting Vulnerable People (PVP) branch and his portfolio includes oversight of the Force Hate Crime Policy and also working with other forces in the UK to ensure best practice.