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Police say 'hate crimes are investigated and support is available'

This week we're looking at the levels of racism across Avon and Somerset and the support available.

It follows a Yeovil Town match being abandoned last month due to reports of racist abuse.

Bristol City also launched an investigation into apparent racist abuse by their fans during a game against Luton.

A boy, 11, in Bridgwater was also recently targeted in a suspected racially motivated attack.

Police say they've seen a rise in all hate crimes across the area in recent years - possibly due to the EU referendum and also more people coming forward and speaking out.

A spokesperson for Avon & Somerset Police said: "Our data shows that the number of hate crimes in Avon and Somerset increased by nine per cent between 2016 and 2018. 

"This refers to all types of hate crime including disablist, racial, religious, hate crime motivated by sexual orientation, transphobic hate crime, gender hate crime, and gypsy and traveller community. 

"There were 3,025 hate crimes logged in 2016 and 3,324 recorded in 2018.

"The spike that we are seeing in the number of hate crimes has been attributed to a number of factors such as, the result of the EU Referendum, which is said to have emboldened and validated individuals already inclined towards racial hate to act. 

"However, the data does also reflect a growing intolerance and awareness for hate crimes and a boost in confidence amongst victims to report to us."

To report a hate crime click here

To find a list of support organisations for those affected by hate crimes click here

Click play to hear Sharon Baker, a Chief Inspector for Avon and Somerset Police who covers The Mendips and South Somerset, speaking to reporter Tom Owen

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