Somerset hate crimes can be reported via charities
A new system has been set up by police in Somerset to make it easier for victims to report hate crime.
It will mean victims can report offences via 10 local charities rather than going directly to the police.
Supt Matt Ayres said: "It isn't rising year on year, but we acknowledge there is an under-reporting of all aspects of hate crime."
Special training will be given to those taking the reports which can, if the victim wishes, be reported to police.
"It means those people from different vulnerable groups, who might not want to walk into a police station or might not feel that confident, can walk into another agency where they feel more comfortable with the people they know," Supt Ayres said.
Police define a hate crime as a crime which is perceived by the victim as being motivated by prejudice or hate, and could be associated with race, faith, belief, disability, age, cultural background, age or sexual orientation.
Charities which have signed up the Strategic Partnership Against Hate Crime (SPAHC) include the mental health charity Mind in Taunton and West Somerset, South Somerset Disability Forum, Terrence Higgins Trust and Victim Support.