An increase in reports of hate crime in the Horsham district has been welcomed by the Horsham district police commander.
Chief inspector Howard Hodges added that hate crime and incidents are a ‘priority’ for the force.
His comments follow figures that revealed the number of hate crimes and incidents in Horsham rose to 69 between April 2014 and May 2015, compared to 60 the previous year.
CI Hodges said: “Hate crime is a priority for policing at both a force and local level. We have invested in training for officers to understand and respond better to reports of hate crime when they do occur.
“Trust and confidence are key and will only increase when we deal effectively and compassionately with vulnerabe victims and robustly with those who seek to exploit them.
“It is important that we understand the true nature and extent of hate crime so that we can prevent it from happening in the first place with our partners and other representative groups.
“Any increase in reported crime is - in relation to hate crime - to be welcomed and a measure of success.”
Disablist, homophobic and race hate crime increased in Horsham in 2014/15, while the number of religious and transphobic hate incidents dropped.
The number of disability hate crimes and non-crime hate incidents rose from nine between April 2013 and May 2014 to 14 the following year.
Statistics released by Sussex Police also show a rise in homophobic hate crime.
There were nine homophobic crimes and non-crime hate incidents in the Horsham area in 2014/15 compared to five the previous year.
Race hate crime also experienced an increase, from 36 crimes and incidents last year to 43 this year.
However, the number of religious hate crimes or incidents recorded in the Horsham district fell from nine to three, while there were no instances of transphobic hate crime following one the previous year.
In total, there was an increase in the number of hate crimes across Sussex.