ACTION is being taken to ensure the true extent of hate crime in North Yorkshire is revealed.

The county's police and crime commissioner, Julia Mulligan, wants to establish exactly what the position is - and ensure there is more and better support for victims.

She believes victims don’t always feel comfortable reporting the matter directly to the police so she has given authorisation to the "Supporting Victims" service to report and record hate crimes.

And she hopes the change will mean that there will be a better understanding of how many victims there are across the county.

Supporting Victims provides help and support to victims of all crimes across North Yorkshire and they now have trained and experienced staff on hand to support those who come forward to report hate crimes they’ve been a victim of.

That can include immediate emotional and practical support over the phone or referral to specialist advisers, where appropriate, for face-to-face support in the community.

“Hate crime has been chronically under-reported across the country for years, and North Yorkshire is no different," she said.

"While many may believe the problem is not a serious one here, I believe the opposite is true. We have less diversity in our county than in many police force areas which may lead to some individuals and communities feeling particularly isolated.

"We need to encourage them to come forward, report the crime they have been a victim of and get the support they need and deserve.

“Through my time as police and crime commissioner, I have focused on improving the quality of care available for victims of any crime in North Yorkshire.

"Working with the Supporting Victims service to record and provide support for hate crime victims is the latest in a long line of changes to make sure residents are safe and supported at the most difficult of times.”

Claire Gallier, a team leader from Supporting Victims, added: “Hate crimes are often not reported because the victim feels trapped and alone. The truth is, they can happen to anybody and there is always a way forward.

"We can help you understand what is happening and guide you to specialist organisations who will support you moving forward. Our service is independent from policing and you can come to us directly; you don’t have to report a crime to the police to receive support.”

To report a hate crime call Supporting Victims on 01609-643100, police on 101 or go to True Vision at