Hate crimes have risen almost nine per cent since last year.

1,208 incidents have been reported between April 1 and October 10, which is an increase of 97 from the same period last year.

Watford saw the biggest increase with 27.5 per cent (42) crimes reported, with Hertsmere seeing the third biggest rise with 33.9 per cent (40) more incidents reported in the same time frame.

This week events will be run by officers in Hertfordshire Constabulary as part of National Hate Crime Awareness Week to stamp out discrimination.

A hate crime is any criminal offence that is targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.

Police will be sharing messages of tolerance on social media on behalf of the County Community Safety Unit. The CCSU is a joint police and Hertfordshire County Council unit which leads on tackling hate crime in the county.

The Constabulary’s specialist Hate Crime Officers will be setting up stands and events around the county to talk to the public about hate crime.

To finish the week a new frontline strategy will be presented to corporate partners to tackle the problem by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office.

Detective Superintendent Dean Patient, the Constabulary’s strategic lead for tackling hate crime, said: “Despite the increase in reporting, hate crime is widely believed to be under-reported. I would encourage people not to tolerate these crimes but report them so they can be investigated and victims can receive relevant support.

“Remember being different is not a crime, being victimised because of it is. Our message is: Don’t ignore it – report it.”

Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: “Hate crime will not be tolerated in Hertfordshire. My Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan is called ‘Everybody’s Business’, so we are all responsible for challenging this appalling behaviour.

“An improved response to hate crime incidents through a co-ordinated and a multi-agency approach will improve the victim’s experience and give them more confidence in the system.”

To report a hate crime call 101 or if it is an emergency dial 999 or through a third party at www.herts.police.uk/hatecrime or www.report-it.org.uk.

For more information search the hashtag #NHCAW or #NHCAW2017.