The founder of campaign group West Midlands Together has welcomed news that two regional police forces have launched a new hate-crime strategy.
Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre, who founded the cross-party campaign with her Labour colleague Neena Gill, said the Warwickshire and West Mercia forces were leading the way on tackling hate crime.
The strategy sets out the role officers and police staff play in responding to hate crimes and stipulates the standard of service victims can expect. 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 and contact details for support groups.
Miss McIntyre launched West Midlands Together following a spike in levels of hate crime following the Brexit referendum vote.
She said: "I congratulate both Police and Crime Commissioners for pushing forward this important agenda.
"There is evidence that hate crime, in the West Midlands and across the UK, is under-reported. Some estimates suggest that half of all offences go unreported.
"We have to encourage victims to come forward and the aim here is to offer them a genuinely personalised service.
"The strategy specifically mentions Islamophobic hate crime and I welcome that. Sadly all communities have been victims and have been targeted by bigots, but recent events in North London have shown the scale of viciousness and violence that hatred can create.
"We must guard against this and reassure all communities that all hate-crime attacks will be treated with equal seriousness and will be investigated and prosecuted with vigour."