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city race hate crime rockets; Commissioner: Big rise reflects confidence of victims to report.

Byline: ANTONIA PAGET ECHO Reporter antonia.paget@trinitymirror.com aepagete @

MERSEYSIDE is one of the worst areas in the country for hate crime, new figures reveal.

Almost 2,000 hate crimes were reported to Merseyside Police from 2014-15, ranking it among the top five worst forces.

Religious hate crime nearly trebled last year, there was an 88% increase in disability hate crime, and racially motivated crime remains the most common type in the area.

Figures released by the Home Office reveal the number of religious hate crimes recorded by Merseyside Police jumped from 41 in 2013-14 to 119 in 2014-15.

The 99 hate crimes against disabled people in 2013-14 also rose sharply to 186 in the past 12 months and a 22% increase in racially motivated hate crime also saw 1,653 of these type of crimes recorded in 2014-15.

These figures place Merseyside as the force with the third highest number of hate crimes in proportion to population.

Greater Manchester and London Metropolitan were the two force areas to record higher hate crime figures.

Greater Manchester, whose population is double that of Merseyside, recorded 3,196 race hate crimes last year, 287 religious hate crimes, 161 disability hate crimes and 423 crimes motivated by sexual orientation, a further 35 of which were transgender hate crimes.

Merseyside's Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy attributed the increase to the availability of better support services.

She said: "Merseyside Police and their partners have made great strides over the last few years in tackling hate crime and giving victims the confidence to come forward when they have been affected.

"They introduced dedicated Sigma hate crime units and have introduced a number of pioneering initiatives to support victims. This increase is something I have predicted and welcome as it demonstrates this hard work is paying off and fewer victims are now suffering in silence.

"We must continue... to send out the message that hate will not be tolerated on Merseyside."

Many of the increases across Merseyside are in line with national trends.

In England and Wales 52,528 hate crimes were recorded in 2014-15, an increase of nearly a fifth compared to 2013-14.

The figures, released at the start of Hate Crime Awareness week, show hate crimes more than trebled this year. In 2013-14 there was only a five per cent increase on 2011-2012.

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FIGHTING HATE: Police Commissioner | |Jane Kennedy is encouraged by progress

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Title Annotation:Features; Offers
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 25, 2015
Words:400
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