A campaign to help and encourage victims to report hate crime is being planned across the West Midlands.

The scheme was outlined at a meeting of the steering group behind West Midlands Together, the cross-party initiative against hate crime launched in the wake of the Brexit referendum.

The group heard that under-reporting was a major issue in the West  Midlands and nationally, and it was agreed to investigate a possible region-wide campaign to raise awareness and inform the public about various ways of reporting incidents.

In a related plan, the group will look into organising a youth conference to allow school students and other young people to learn and share their experience of hate crime.

West Midlands Together was launched by Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre and her Labour colleague Neena Gill in response to a spike in incidents of race-related crime following last year's referendum.

The steering group meeting, held at Birmingham Council House, heard from Mark Babington, of West Midlands Combined Authority, who spoke about hate crime on public transport.

He said both West Midlands Police and British Transport Police were encouraging victims to report hate crime, either directly or through the third party organisation True Vision (www.report-it.org.uk).

He said: "It is really important to us that hate crime is reported. The more we know about what happens the more we can intervene.

"Pretty much every increase in hate crime is preceded by significant events, not just the Brexit vote but also things such as the Charlie Hebdo attack or the murder of Lee Rigby.

"Nationally hate crime has increased by 19 per cent over 12 months.  West Midlands has also seen an increase, but  much lower at 11 per cent - mostly race or religion motivated."

He noted that on the public transport network, a significant proportion of attacks were towards staff. A large proportion was alcohol related, mirroring crime more widely.

Louise White, Commissioning Officer for the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, outlined measures being taken by the force to encourage reporting and deliver consistently high quality in handling hate crime reports.

Miss McIntyre said after the meeting: "Although there has been an increase in reports, it is clear anecdotally that a great deal of hate crime is still going unreported, either because victims do not know where to go or because they do not think it will have much effect.

"We want to build awareness and confidence. We want all victims - whether they have been targeted because of race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or appearance -  to realise this is a very serious matter and they should not have to suffer in silence."