A STAGGERING average of nine hate crimes is reported daily across Avon and Somerset, police figures reveal.

The 3,284 recorded incidents in the last year represent a ten per cent hike over two years.

Of those, 2,028 were racial and in the first year since gender crime was officially recognised in the force area, 401 gender hate crimes have been reported.

Police say underreporting continues to be an issue especially for victims of hate crimes related to disability and sexual orientation.

During National Hate Crime Awareness Week, which runs until Saturday, Avon and Somerset Police are working with partners to increase understanding about what a hate crime is, how to report it and to remind people what they can do if they see it happening in their community.

Constabulary lead for hate crime Supt Andy Bennett said: "Tackling hate crime, in all of its forms, is a priority for us.

"Our chief constable wants us to be outstanding in how we tackle this. More people seem to be reporting hate crime, but we want to reduce the instances of it occurring. It is not acceptable.

"Anyone can be a victim of hate crime. If you have been verbally or physically attacked, threatened or subjected to malicious communication because of your gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, gender identify or because of a disability, please get in touch with us. And if you feel you can’t then please speak to a local charity or organisation.

"We know these figures don’t show the full picture so we are keen to encourage more victims to come forward.

"We are working to make Avon and Somerset a place where there is no home for hate."

Stand Against Racism and Inequality strategic director Alex Raikes said: "SARI is working tirelessly, 24/7 to tackle hate crime across Avon and Somerset.

"Every year a large number of victims of hate crime come forward to courageously tell us what is happening to them – 1,179 people during 2017-2018.

"While race hate remains the highest reporting category, we are gradually seeing more people reporting disabilist, faith-based, homophobic, bi-phobic, misogynistic and transphobic cases.

"But under-reporting is still a huge issue –we know far too many people are suffering in silence.

"We know that people are worried to come forward because they think it will make things worse or they think that they won’t be taken seriously.

"Our advice is, if you don’t report it, it often won’t go away and certainly perpetrators will get away with it and then may well harm others.

"And you can report it even if you don’t want to take action – just to get advice and make sure it is on record."