DID you know Essex Police has a network of specialist centres for victims to report hate crimes?

The Hate Incident Reporting Centres (or HIRCs) are staffed by Hate Crime Ambassadors who will contact the police on behalf of victims.

Dotted around the county, there are six centres in Southend, four in Basildon, one in Rayleigh, and two in Benfleet.

The centres are based in council buildings, businesses and other locations which have partnered with Essex Police to tackle hate crime.

The map below shows where your nearest HIRC is located.

The HIRCS are intended to be a friendly face in communities for people who either can’t or don’t want to report to the police directly. (If an ongoing hate crime is putting you or somebody at immediate danger and requires police assistance call 999.)

A hate crime is defined as any incident, which is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on a personal characteristic – this can be disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or gender identity.

There have been more than 4,800 hate crime offences in Essex in 2021, up by 27 per cent on this time last year.

To mark National Hate Crime Awareness Week (October 11 – 17) Essex Police’s hate crime lead Superintendent Richard Melton said: “Hate crime will not be tolerated and it’s a priority for Essex Police.

“We work shoulder to shoulder with our other Essex partners, including the crown prosecution service, to take a hard line against hatred committed anywhere across the county.

“Essex has a strong strategic hate crime prevention partnership and our collective focus is to prevent hate crime and where it does occur we want to improve our response to it across the agencies.”