Hertfordshire’s new strategy to combat hate crime is being launched at a special conference today (Friday).  

Guests, including the former Watford, AC Milan and England striker Luther Blissett, will speak about the impact of hate crime on the county, and how it can be challenged.

The strategy, developed by Hertfordshire’s County Community Safety Unit, sets out four areas to address in order to properly combat hate crime: prevention, resolution, support, and learning.

Hertfordshire has seen a nine per cent rise in hate crime offences in the last 12 months.

David Lloyd, the PCC for Hertfordshire, said more people reporting offences underlines the need for a joined-up approach: “Nobody should be abused for the colour of their skin, their sexuality, transgender identity, religion or disability.

“This vicious crime can leave lasting scars for the victim, and we must work together as a community and agencies to challenge offenders. This strategy sets a clear direction for that.”

Superintendent Dean Patient, who leads on hate crime for Hertfordshire Constabulary, added: “Front line staff from organisations across the county are coming together for this conference. As a result we hope to develop new ways in which we can work better together to prevent crime and bring offenders to justice.

“We know hate crime is under-reported so the value of this work, that will directly benefit victims, cannot be underestimated.”

Colin Woodward, deputy executive member for community safety at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “Despite the rise in the number of hate crime reports, they remain relatively rare. However we know the severe impact that hate crimes can have both on individuals and the wider community so tackling it now is essential.

“This strategy sets the foundations for that work. Our organisations will be better equipped to recognise hate crime and help victims find the support they need.”