WEST Midlands Police are conducting their first ever survey to investigate the under-reporting of hate incidents.
The online survey asks questions on why a hate incident has not been reported, and how police can improve their services to people who are victims of hate incidents in order to encourage more people to come forward.
Nationally, police recorded 50,000 racially or religiously motivated hate incidents in 2005. However the British Crime Survey indicates that the true number of hate incidents topped 260,000.
Sergeant Neil Anderton, Hate Crime co-ordinator, said: “This survey is the culmination of work which started in November last year into the under-reporting of hate incidents.
“Hate incidents are not just incidents about race or religion; they can be about sexuality, gender or disability. We want to encourage anyone who has been a victim to come forward tell us their experience, if they reported it, and if not, why not.
“It is recognised nationally that there is under-reporting of hate incidents. This survey is designed to help us get an understanding of why incidents are not reported here in the West Midlands, and how we can improve our community engagement on this subject.”
As well as being online, the survey will also be distributed in leaflet form by officers around the region, and will be appearing in some local newspapers in order to reach the maximum number of people.
The results of the survey, which are expected by the end of summer, will be used to improve the reporting and recording of hate incidents.
Inspector Andy Sadler, head of the Best Value Review team conducting the survey, is hopeful that it will reassure victims that the police will do all that they can to tackle the issue.
“This project is about giving victims of hate incidents the confidence to come forward and report what has happened to them, as well giving them the reassurance to know that officers will do all that they can to investigate the issue.”
The survey can be found online at www.west-midlands.police.uk/survey