What is Hate Crime?

Hate crime is the term given to offences where the victim has been targeted specifically due to ‘who they are’. 

Nationally, hate crime is monitored under five strands and is defined as:

‘Any criminal offence that is targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.’[1]

Hate crime has a significant impact on victims, often leaving them distressed and causing them to make changes to their lifestyle to reduce the risk of such events happening again. 

In many cases, victims are afraid to leave their homes for fear of being targeted. 

There are also high levels of repeat victimisation for this type of crime. 

Victims often endure many incidents without reporting to the police or to any other agency.

[1] Home Office: Action Against Hate – The UK Government’s plan for tackling hate crime July 2016


Facts and Figures

Hate Crime in England and Wales is significantly under-reported. Police recorded figures are at the highest levels since recording began, at 52,528 for England and Wales in 2014/15.

The Crime Survey for England & Wales (CSEW) data however, with figures of 222,000 on average for 2013/14 and 2014/15, show that this figure is significantly lower than the true number of offences.

Between April and October 2017, the number of hate crimes reported in Hertfordshire was almost 9 per cent higher than the same period in 2016.

Between January and April in 2016, more than 1600 people shared their personal insights on hate crime through a survey and in-depth interviews  for a Police and Crime Commissioner funded report ‘Healing the Harms: Identifying how best to support Hate Crime Victims’ led by the University of Leicester’s Centre for Hate Studies.

Over one third (36 per cent) of the sample had experienced a hate crime, with many participants citing race as the cause, which mirrors recorded figures from Hertfordshire Constabulary.

Hertfordshire's Hate Crime Strategy

Hertfordshire’s Hate Crime Strategy has been developed by Hertfordshire’s County Community Safety Unit and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
It was launched at a conference in Hertfordshire which was attended by a number of guests, including the former Watford, AC Milan and England striker Luther Blissett.

He spoke about his experience of hate crime and how it can be challenged:

The Hate Crime Strategy sets out four areas to address in order to properly combat hate crime.

  • Challenging prejudice wherever it appears by educating the public to identify and reject hate and prejudice in all forms.
  • This includes target groups such as schools, the general public and the professional workforce.
  • Raise awareness of the impact of online harassment and Hate Crimes.
  • Promoting victim confidence in the system.  
  • Bringing offenders to justice using the appropriate legal tools.
  • Addressing the experience of the criminal justice system for both victims and offenders.
  • Increasing reporting of hate crime both through calls to the police and also through third-party reporting centres. 
  • Supporting the victim to cope and recover.
  • Putting them at the heart of the criminal justice system.
  • Reducing repeat victimisation and improving confidence.
  • Further provision of an enhanced victim service delivered by case managers, with an overall aim of improving victim experience, satisfaction and on-going wellbeing. 
  • Understanding exactly what hate crime looks like in Hertfordshire.
  • Who is affected and where?
  • Identifying and recognising emerging threats.
  • Transparently evaluating the work we do to tackle hate crime and support victims.
  • Effective use of data on hate crime using an intelligence-led approach so that we can be placed on a path of continuous improvement. 

More information can be found in the Hertfordshire Hate Crime Strategy.

The Commissioner's office and Constabulary are also partners in Herts Against Hate.

The Hate Crime Partnership Board is chaired by Dr Amie Birkhamshaw, Assistant Chief Executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire. Minutes of their meetings can be found below.


Report Hate Crime

Hate crime can be reported in a number of ways. Through Herts Police’s website or by calling 101. In an emergency, you should dial 999.

Victims who would like to report a hate crime but would prefer not to report direct to police can do so at the national hate crime reporting website as well as a number of third party reporting centres in Hertfordshire.
Support for victims of hate crime is provided through a number of agencies including the victim care centre Beacon. You are able to access Beacon’s services even if you have not reported a crime to the police