WEST Mercia Police have joined forces with their Warwickshire counterparts to make a renewed commitment to offer a personalised service to hate crime victims.

A new hate crime strategy, which launched on Monday, sets out the role officers and staff play in responding to and investigating hate crimes, and the service victims can expect.

The strategy for the first time makes mention specifically to Islamophobic hate crime, referencing the MAMA campaign aiming to monitor offences against Muslims.

A new hate crime section has also been set up on the force’s website, providing information for victims, details of how to report incidents, the service victims can expect, and contact details for support groups.

Hate crime, both locally and nationally, is underreported, with an estimated half of all offences not being reported to police.

Chief Superintendent Charles Hill said: “Despite a steady increase in recent years we know that they are still underreported and this is why we felt it was important to set out exactly what victims can expect when they contact the police.

“From the moment a victim of hate crime contacts the police they should have the confidence that they will receive the highest levels of service.

“Through this strategy we are aiming to ensure that we provide the highest standard of investigation, service and support to victims of hate crime. We’re also actively encouraging victims of hate crime to hold us to account - we’re setting high standards and we want to ensure we’re meeting them.”

“Every time a victim comes forwards we are better equipped to tackle offenders and deal with problems in our communities.

“It is vital that victims of hate crime and our wider communities have high levels of confidence and satisfaction in the service we provide to them. There are still a lot of victims not coming forward so there is still work for us to do.

“The world has changed a lot since our last hate crime strategy was launched; following Brexit we saw a spike in hate crime reports and concerns around Islamophobic hate crime have also grown. This new strategy ensures we are equipped to continue to tackle hate crime and provide support to victims.”

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion added: “Tackling hate crime is a priority for me. I want to create safer communities, which work together to challenge negative beliefs and attitudes.

“I promised to put victims first, ensuring those who are subjected to hate crimes get the help they need to cope and recover.

“This strategy, tied in with my victims charter, delivers on this.”

For more visit the force’s website westmercia.police.uk