Hate crime against disabled people rises

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There has been a rise in hate crimes against disabled people, police figures for England, Wales and Northern Ireland show.

More than 2,000 such offences were recorded in 2011, up a third on 2010. Police said this was partly due to an increased willingness to report crimes.

Overall, hate crimes linked to race, religion, sexual orientation and disability fell by 3,600 to 44,500.

Hate crime monitoring began in 2008 to raise awareness of the problem.

An offence is considered a hate crime if the victim, or any other person, considers it was motivated by hostility based on a person's race, religious belief, sexual orientation, disability or where the victim was perceived to be transgender.

In 2011, a total of 44,519 hate crimes were recorded - compared with 48,127 in 2010.

Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris urged anyone who was a victim of hate crime to report it to their local police or using the Association of Chief Police Officers' (Acpo) online reporting facility, True Vision.

"Hate crimes cause a great deal of fear among victims and communities," said ACC Harris, who is Acpo lead on the issue.

"We are determined to reduce the harm caused by hate crime and as a service, we have listened to victims' groups who have told us that publishing this data will improve confidence in the police and the wider criminal justice system."

But he added: "The 2011 data importantly shows a further increase in disability hate crime. While we would obviously want to see reductions in the incidence of all hate crime, we know that disability hate crimes have been significantly under-reported in the past.

"We remain committed to building confidence in and improving our recording practices, so that more victims get the service they deserve."

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