HATE crimes are being carried out every day in the heart of our communities police have warned this week.

Thames Valley Police record at least six hate crimes every day.

This figure is being released as the force launches the latest phase of its 18 month Hidden Harm campaign this week.

A hate crime is any type of crime motivated by race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.

Last year 2,369 hate crimes were recorded across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire - meaning that every day the force receives at least six reports of people being abused because of who they are, how they look or what they believe in.

Police fear many more hate crimes are being committed but not being reported. The campaign seeks to encourage both victims and witnesses to come forward and report this type of abuse either to the police or Victims First, partners of the campaign.

Chief Inspector Helen Roberts, Thames Valley Police’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.”

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

If you have been a victim of hate crime then Victims First is also here to provide help to recover from that experience, including face to face support, advocacy and therapeutic counselling. You can speak to a member of Victims First staff on 0300 1234 148.

More information on the Hidden Harm campaign and hate crime, can be found on the Thames Valley Police website – www.thamesvalley.police.uk/hiddenharm.