WEST Mercia Police and South Worcestershire Citizen Advice Bureau (CAB) are teaming up to help reporting hate crimes easier.

Around 130 staff members and volunteers at Malvern's and Evesham's CABs have undergone training to allow the centres to become reporting stations for hate crimes, as the police force looks to tackle "under reporting" of the issue.

The information collated in these reports will then be passed on to the police who can investigate and offer further support.

The project, which is already practised in Telford, Shropshire, was launched at a press conference in Malvern on Friday, August 8 and is the first of its kind in the South Worcestershire area.

Sergeant Ian Blanchard, from the Malvern Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: "The simplest way to stop someone committing a hate crime is to report it.

"The idea of this new initiative is to make it easier for people who want to report hate crimes to do so, and for us to tackle the issue more effectively.

"Hate crime figures haven't risen , but we are aware a lot of crimes are going unreported.

"It's this under-reporting we are trying to tackle. We have become aware in the past through hear say or word of mouth of hate crimes being committed, but we need them reported straight away.

"The other benefits of using staff members at CAB centres, is that sometimes victims of hate crimes can be reluctant to come to police officers, but may be more inclined to report to CAB centres if they already have a rapport with volunteers and staff there, and it's not so formal."

Richard West, advice services manager at the Malvern CAB office, said: "Our staff are highly trained and extremely helpful and I would encourage anyone who would like to report a hate crime to talk to one of them.

"Even if you don't want to make an official report, we can offer informal support and advice."

For the financial year of 2012-13 there were 270 reporting of hate crimes in the South Worcestershire, which fell to 227 for the years 2013-2014.

Between April and July this year, there were 81 reports of hate crimes.

For more information visit warwickshire.police.uk