A campaign to combat hate crime in North Wales has resulted in more victims coming forward.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones says it’s vital to raise awareness about the problem which causes untold misery.

People are singled out for abuse because of their sexual orientation, race, body shape, age or a host of other personal characteristics.

It’s been revealed there has been a 27 per increase in the number of reports of hate crimes in North Wales over the past 12 months.

The number of cases reported to North Wales Police went up from 358 to 455, with incidents involving race and religion featuring prominently.

The new figures were released to coincide with National Hate Crime Awareness Week.

A week of activities will culminate with a football tournament in Wrexham on Saturday, October 20.

Among the teams taking part will be Wrexham Inclusion FC and other community-based teams while two teams of North Wales Police Cadets will play against each other.

The event will also mark the debut of a police car in a rainbow livery which will be used to promote the anti-hate crime message.

Mr Jones said: “Hate crimes are committed against an individual person because of who they are and what they are – and that is intolerable in a civilised society.

“North Wales Police rightly takes these crimes very seriously and it is important that we encourage victims to come forward and report what has happened, either directly to the police, via another agency or the Victim Help Centre in St Asaph which was established to provide support and guidance for victims of all crimes.

“I also urge people to report those inciting or committing hate crimes. As North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner I am firm in my stance that we must stand up to the scourge of racism.

“I was pleased to see from the latest figures there continues to be a steady increase in the number of victims reporting the hate crimes perpetrated against them.

“I encourage our communities to counter racist narrative by standing up to those carrying out such abuse and report them immediately to the police. Racism against our fellow citizens is wholly unacceptable and should not be tolerated.

“This type of behaviour will not be tolerated. North Wales Police and I will do everything within our powers to protect everyone who lives and visits North Wales whatever their country of origin and will prosecute those who commit hate crimes.”

“If you report the matter to North Wales Police, you can be confident that it will be dealt with properly and sympathetically.

“North Wales Police is determined to handle complaints of this kind sensitively and not to expose the victim to further risk from the person who has made them a victim.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Elizabeth Ward, the PCC’s policy officer, who said: “Hate crime is a shameful crime motivated by prejudice and can manifest itself in a number of ways and we’re all protected by law, all of us.

“What we’re trying to do as part of Hate Crime Awareness Week is to raise the profile of the issue and say unequivocally that it is not acceptable in any shape or form.

“Unfortunately, some people deal with hate crime on a daily basis and what we’re trying to do is to enable those people to come forward and tell us their story. We are encouraged by the fact that more people have the confidence to come forward and report what’s happened to them.