A MULTI-AGENCY group aiming to help educate hate crime offenders and seek justice for victims is on a mission to build trust with diverse communities across Warrington.

Sarah Pengelly, chief inspector for Warrington, chairs the hate crime partnership board.

Members have committed to a vision for helping to shape a town where 'diversity and difference is celebrated, where hate crime is actively challenged and where all communities feel safe'.

The board's priorities include increasing awareness of hate crime across all communities, improving the understanding of what hate crime is and its impact on victims, improving the reporting of hate crime and improving cohesion with minority communities.

Chf insp Pengelly said: "The board has made some fantastic progress over the years.

"We have some fantastic events where we have celebrated diversity, the Mela is one of those where there is brilliant engagement.

"But I recognise that we have a long way to go – Warrington is a very diverse community and we know that hate crime often doesn't get reported.

"It’s very important that we know where, when and how hate crimes happen, who the victims are and what the impact has been – so that we can get a better picture and understand it and then challenge those who commit hate crime, seek justice for victims, educate offenders and change attitudes wherever we can."

Police figures have revealed the areas in the town with the most hate crime incidents, between April to December 2017.

The highest number of incidents came in Bewsey and Whitecross, 40, the town centre, 34, Orford, 18, Fairfield and Howley, 17 and Burtonwood and Winwick, 17.

But chf insp Pengelly is confident of building on the progress already made.

She added: "My personal priorities are to reach out to our hard to reach communities and build trust through engagement, to make the partnership board more reflective of the diverse community by having people from the community joining us and to improve our understanding of disability-related hate crime, please join us.

"We would like people from diverse communities to join the board.

"Additionally, we welcome a wide view and public scrutiny of how we deal with hate crime."

For more information about joining the partnership e-mail hhill@warrington.gov.uk, or if you would like to be involved with Warrington Police's hate crime scrutiny panel e-mail ruth.atherton@cheshire.pnn.police.uk.