South Yorkshire Police call for all hate crimes to be reported
Police chiefs in South Yorkshire are calling for all hate crimes to be reported despite some offences being difficult to investigate.
New figures released this week revealed that one in four racially or religiously motivated offences go unsolved in South Yorkshire, with suspects in those cases never identified.
Some forces elsewhere are failing to solve half of all their hate crime cases.
In the 12 months to September 2018, a total of 1,191 racially and religious motivated offences were recorded by South Yorkshire Police, with 318 cases – 27 per cent – closed without being solved.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said in many cases there are often no witnesses to offences and limited evidence but police forces still need to be made aware of incidents to investigate and prevent from happening.
Superintendent Sarah Poolman, South Yorkshire Police’s force lead for hate crime, said: “Understanding and tackling hate crime has, and continues, to be a priority for South Yorkshire Police.
“Over the last few years, we have worked with our communities and partners to raise awareness of hate crime, build confidence and encourage reporting.
“The increased awareness and confidence has definitely contributed to the rise in reported hate crime, which is welcomed as it enables us to better understand what is happening in our communities, to support those affected and to take action to prevent further offences.”
She added: “However, as the NPCC hate crime lead, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, has stated, in many cases, the evidence through which we would be able to identify a suspect does not exist – CCTV, witnesses, forensics.
“Despite these challenges, we always seek to identify suspects of hate crimes at the earliest opportunity and to support the victims and communities affected. We are also constantly looking at ways to improve the service we provide.
“In the wake of the New Zealand terrorist attack and related UK-based hate crimes, it is even more imperative that hate crimes are reported to us so that we can investigate, take action and stand together.”