People who experience or witness hate crime are encouraged to report incidents as part of the new Speak Up Against Hate Crime campaign.
The positive act of reporting a hate crime can help to stop abuse motivated by prejudice or discrimination, work towards a positive outcome in the victim’s case and assist in preventing acts of hate happening to anyone else.
No crime or incident is too small to report. Every incident reported assists Police Scotland to identify areas of concern and deal with them to help prevent future crimes.
Superintendent Gavin Phillip, Police Scotland, said: “Police Scotland treat hate crime as a high priority and would urge any victim or witness to report it to allow us to thoroughly investigate and deal robustly with offenders.
“We recognise the impact hate crime can have on individuals, families and communities and will treat each case sensitively, using specialist officers and services where appropriate.
Police Scotland also recognises that in some cases victims or witnesses of hate crime don’t feel confident reporting the matter directly to the police and may be more comfortable reporting to a person or organisation they are familiar with.
There are a variety of third-party organisations that work in partnership with Police Scotland to receive reports of hate crime on their behalf.
Current statistics show that there were more than 4,000 racially aggravated charges of hate crime reported (4,012) in 2012-13 and that across incidents relating to religion, disability and sexual orientation there was a significant rise in reported crimes.
Incidents of hate crime can include habitual taunting, vandalism, online bullying and physical violence but reporting it is making a big difference.
The Scottish Government, which is running the Speak Up Against Hate Crime campaign, firmly believes that hate crime is unacceptable and that everyone deserves to be treated fairly, regardless of age, disability, gender, gender identity/reassignment, race, religion/belief or sexual orientation.
To report incidents of hate crime you can:
* Phone the police on dialling 101 or 999 in an emergency.
* Report in person at any police office.
* Complete a Hate Crime Reporting Form online.
* Use a third-party reporting site.