POLICE are hoping to crack down on hate crimes as part of a campaign to eliminate abuse within communities.

At least six hate crimes are recorded by Thames Valley Police (TVP) every day, an act which is motivated by a person's race, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

Last year, more than 2,300 hate crimes were recorded across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, although it is likely that this does not reflect the true number.

Part of the purpose of the Hidden Harm campaign is to encourage victims to come forward and expose crimes of this nature.

Chief Inspector Helen Roberts, the force's hate crime lead, said: “Hate crimes can have serious, long term physical, emotional and financial effects on the lives of those who experience them.

“They can happen anywhere, even online and can take many forms, including threats, intimidation, damage to property and physical attacks.

“No one should ever be the victim of hate crime, and it’s vital that people come forward and report these offences, whether it’s happened to them or someone else so we can keep people safe from harm.

“We will not tolerate hate crime in the Thames Valley.”

TVP will be working with partners throughout the campaign and sharing powerful stories from both members of the public and officers who have suffered this type of abuse.

They will talk about the impact being a victim of hate crime has had on them, from not wanting to leave the house, falling ill and even feeling suicidal.

Anthony Stansfeld, police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley, added: “Hate crime can be devastating for victims and communities. To be targeted for who you are is very personal. It can leave victims frightened, isolated and powerless, and communities fearful and vulnerable.

“Hate crime is not something which should be tolerated in our communities which is why it is important we continue to raise awareness to encourage both victims and witnesses to come forward and report it, either to the police or to my Victims First third party reporting service."

This phase of the Hidden Harm campaign will be running from October 8-21 and will coincide with National Hate Crime Awareness Week (October 13-20).

Visit: thamesvalley.police.uk/hiddenharm for more information.