A new website to encourage people to report hate crime has been launched.
True Vision gives information on what hate crime is and how to report it.
The website, at report-it.org.uk, also has an online reporting facility and gives links to organisations that can offer support and advice.
It also allows people to report hate crimes anonymously.
Police believe that many hate crimes – crimes motivated by hatred of LGBT people, difference races or disability – are not reported.
The website was set up by the Association of Chief Police Officers and is supported by all police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris, who leads on hate crime at ACPO, said: “Hate crimes cause a great deal of fear amongst victims and damages[sic] communities.
“Whilst we are committed to reducing the incidence of hate crime, it is vital that we close the gap of under-reporting.
“Only by increasing reporting can we gain a better understanding of the extent of hate crime and it is for this reason that I urge victims and witnesses to use the True Vision website and to continue to come forward so we can bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Professor John Grieve CBE, independent chair of the government’s Hate Crime Advisory Group, said:“The UK is amongst world leaders in the way that it responds to hate crime, but there is still much work to do. One of the greatest challenges is to reduce the under-reporting of hate crime.
“We welcome the government’s commitment to increase reporting and we will be examining this data in the forthcoming months and years to better understand the extent of hate crime and to challenge where performance does not meet the high standards that the public rightly demands of the criminal justice agencies.”
In November, figures released by ACPO showed that there were 50,000 reported hate crimes across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2009.
The vast majority concerned racism but almost 5,000 were motivated by homophobia and more than 300 related to transphobia.
Police said that the figures showed an increase in incidents but urged more people to report crimes.