A WORRYING increase in hate crime has been recorded in Warrington, according to figures.

During the period between April and August this year, hate crime rose by 14 per cent compared to the same period in 2018.

It saw recorded crimes in the borough jump from 181 to 207.

July had the highest recorded crimes, 50, and June the lowest, 35.

The majority of recorded hate crimes were recorded as ‘public fear, alarm and distress’.

But disability motivated hate crime decreased by 29 per cent, from 21 to 15.

However, the police say it is recognised this type of crime is ‘significantly under reported’.

Racial, religion or belief-based hate crime increased by 30 per cent, from 115 to 150.

Cllr Tony Higgins, the council’s cabinet member for leisure and community, has responded to the figures.

The Labour politician became a patron of Warrington Ethnic Communities Association (WECA) and Warrington Mela in July.

He said: “I think it’s really important to recognise the positive work we are doing to tackle hate crime.

“In my role as the patron for WECA, I’m totally committed to working hard in building stronger relationships with all of our diverse communities.

“Sadly, there are people out there who target individuals or groups because they have a disability or maybe look different – this kind of crime creates lasting consequences that can impact on the victim for years.

“By working together we all can make a positive difference and, through our own actions, help to reduce the rise in hate crime.”

Hate crime is a criminal offence which is perceived by the victim, or another person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a personal characteristic.

It can take many forms including a physical attack, threat of an attack and verbal abuse or insults.