AVON and Somerset Police have been praised for work ensuring victims of hate crime are referred to appropriate support services.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary has also highlighted the force's 'Take the hurt out of hate' training programme to promote discussion, self-reflection and personal action planning.

A cultural awareness programme is being introduced for staff working with diverse communities, while technology that identifies threat, harm and risks and potential offenders is "effective and well thought of by staff", the report says.

It adds: "This automated report, which identifies hate incidents and crimes across the force’s IT systems, is sent automatically to 150 individuals, including neighbourhood managers, beat managers and hate crime champions."

It ensures crimes are correctly recorded, a support service can consider victim’s needs, and intelligence units can monitor trends, potential hotspots and repeat victims/offenders and assess the threat, harm and risk.

A network of hate crime champions – volunteers with increased training - is commended although more work is being encouraged so all hate crime victims are contacted.

Further work in cyber-enabled hate crime is to be encouraged, while inspectors found good evidence of joint working with partners.

A seven-point promise has already been launched to include staff who have been hate crime victims.

Avon and Somerset was also credited for its decision to record gender as a hate crime.

Supt Andy Bennett, force lead on hate crime, said: "Inspectors have acknowledged the foundations we have put in place, but we recognise there is still more work to do, which we are already undertaking."

He added: "Over the past two years, we have seen an increased level of reports of hate crime, which can have a devastating impact on victims and their quality of life - it divides communities and neighbourhoods.

"There is no room for this type of abhorrent crime in Avon and Somerset and we will always support anyone who is victimised and work closely with all communities to stamp out crimes motivated by prejudice and hate.

"We will also support victims and encourage them to report any form of hate crime to us."

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said the force is committed to tackling hate crime.

She added: "Protecting the most vulnerable from harm is a priority in my Police and Crime Plan and a lot of work has taken place to increase reporting and provide enhanced support for our most vulnerable victims of crime.

"At the end of last year, I supported the constabulary in the decision to become the third force in the country to officially recognise gender-based hate crime.

"This was a move local people continually told me was important to them and the change continues to increase victims’ confidence to report hate crime incidents."