THE number of hate crimes recorded in Cheshire has been revealed.

New figures published by the Home Office have shown there were 2,230 hate crimes reported to Cheshire Police in the 12 months to March 2023.

While this is down 13 per cent from the previous year (2,574), police say there is still much to be done.

Cheshire Police’s lead for hate crime, superintendent Jez Taylor, said: “Everyone in Cheshire should feel free to be themselves.

“Hate Crime can occur because you are targeted because of your race, gender identity, religion/faith, sexual orientation or disability and we are determined to do all we can to stop all forms of hate crime and bring perpetrators to justice.”

Hate crimes are defined as those motivated by a prejudice or hostility towards a personal characteristic.

These characteristics are split into five categories - race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender.

One offence can fall under multiple categories and so the sum of the five categories in Cheshire (2,306) is greater than the total.

Of the 2,230 total offences reported to Cheshire Police in the year to March, more than half were classified as being racially motivated (1,315).

This is down from 1,575 last year.

In fact, all but one of the categories declined.

Sexual orientation related offences dropped from 569 to 486, transgender offences from 92 to 81 and hate crimes against people with disabilities from 384 to 359.

The only category to see an increase was religious hate crimes which rose by 58.5 per cent, from 41 to 65.

READ MORE: Police-recorded hate crimes fall for first time in a decade

Across England and Wales, this was the first time since records began in the year ending March 2013 that the total figure has dropped.

This year’s total of 145,214 was down five per cent on the 155,841 recorded in the year to March 2022.

“We don’t want people to suffer in silence, which is why we are actively taking such steps to increase the number of reports of hate crime to police,” added superintendent Taylor.

“To encourage and increase confidence in reporting this crime, we have third-party reporting centres for those who don’t feel comfortable contacting us directly, our officers have the latest in-house training, and we have worked closely with schools and colleges to educate young people about the issues.”