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Friday, 12 November 2010

Racist and religiously-aggravated crimes highest in Gloucester (UK)

There are nearly double the amount of racially or religiously aggravated hate crimes in Gloucester than anywhere else in the county.

Latest figures for the 2009-2010 year show that police attended 107 crimes that had a racially or religiously aggravating feature, for example, racist insults.

These compare to 64 hate crimes in Cheltenham, 20 in the Cotswold's, 15 in The Forest of Dean, 28 in Stroud, and 13 in Tewkesbury in the same period.

All figures relate to certain crimes only, grievous bodily harm, grievous bodily harm without intent, actual bodily harm, harassment, public order harassment, assault without injury, and criminal damage.

Gloucester historically has this level of hate crimes, with the average yearly figure for the past five years at just over 100.

Andy Davies, neighbourhood policing sergeant for the county, said: "Gloucester has the biggest population and is home to some of our most diverse communities in the county, which is one of the reasons we would expect figures there to be higher."

He added that he was pleased people were coming forward to report these crimes, saying: "While any incidents of this type are reprehensible, we do believe it is a good sign that people there are willing to come forward and report racially aggravated incidents.

"One of the reasons for this is the good work of our Safer Community Teams in building trust within neighbourhoods and taking swift and firm action to find those responsible for such incidents and giving the right support to victims."

In a bid to improve relations between communities, and promote understanding of other cultures, the Safer Community Team in Matson worked with Gloucestershire County Council and Together in Matson for teenagers to visit the Mosque in Ryecroft Street in Gloucester.

They got to meet some of the Asian community and understand more about their culture.

Police spokesman Chris Jackson said: "It was a great success and will help improve relationships within the community, both in the short and long term."

This is Gloucestershire