Northern Ireland

Racist hate crime: Police launch dedicated phone line to report incidents

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionAssistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said he hoped the new phone line would encourage people to pass on information about racist hate crimes

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is to introduce a new dedicated phone line for reporting racist hate crime.

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said the service would be accessed through their 101 number.

He said hoped it would encourage people to pass on more information and help police to deal with the recent upsurge in racist attacks.

Earlier this month, police said they were increasing patrols in areas where hate attacks had taken place.

On Saturday, graffiti was sprayed on two houses in south Belfast, which police said they were treating as a hate crime.

The home of a Jamaican woman and her family was targeted in what was believed to have been a racist attack in the early hours of Friday morning.

Earlier this month, Mr Kerr met Belfast city councillors and community representatives to discuss the recent spate of hate crime incidents.

Police said in south and east Belfast, the UVF had been orchestrating the attacks.

A dedicated team of detectives had been set up to tackle the problem.

A PSNI spokesman said 64 arrests had been made since January in connection with hate crime incidents.

Justice Minister David Ford welcomed the announcement by the PSNI.

Speaking during question time at the assembly he said: "I have given a commitment, through the community safety strategy, that the criminal justice system will tackle hate crime and the harm it causes."

More on this story