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Discrimination and hate crime

Hate Crime Panel

Hate crimes and hate incidents

In most crimes, it is something the victim has in their possession or control that motivates the offender to commit the crime. With hate crime, it is 'who' the victim is or 'what' the victim appears to be that motivates the offender to commit the crime.

A hate crime is defined as 'Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability; or any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.'

A hate incident is any incident that the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone's prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or because they are transgender.

Evidence of the hate element is not a requirement. You do not need to personally perceive the incident to be hate-related. It would be enough if another person, a witness, or even a police officer thought that the incident was hate-related.

Types of hate crime

Hate crime can fall into one of three main categories: physical assault, verbal abuse, or incitement to hatred.

Physical assault

Physical assault of any kind is an offence. If you've been a victim of physical assault, you should report it. Depending on the level of violence used, a perpetrator may be charged with common assault, actual bodily harm, or grievous bodily harm.

Verbal abuse

Verbal abuse, threats, or name-calling can be a common and extremely unpleasant experience for minority groups.

Victims of verbal abuse are often unclear whether an offence has been committed or believe there is little they can do. However, there are laws in place to protect you from verbal abuse.

If you've been the victim of verbal abuse, talk to the police or one of our partner organisations about what has happened. 

Even if you don't know who verbally abused you, the information could still help us improve how we police the area where the abuse took place.

Incitement to hatred

The offence of incitement to hatred occurs when someone acts in a way that is threatening and intended to stir up hatred. That could be in words, pictures, videos, music, or information posted on websites.

Hate content may include:

  • messages calling for violence against a specific person or group
  • web pages that show pictures, videos or descriptions of violence against anyone due to their perceived differences
  • chat forums where people ask other people to commit hate crimes against a specific person or group



How to report hate crime

By reporting hate crime, you may be able to prevent it from happening again.

Is it an emergency?

Does it feel like the situation could get heated or violent very soon? Is someone in immediate danger? Do you need support right away? If so, please call 999 now.

If you have a hearing or speech impairment, use our textphone service 18000 or text us on 999 if you've pre-registered with the emergencySMS service.

Report it online

True Vision

True Vision  is a national police scheme to help victims report hate crimes online.

Report by phone

Call 101

Our national, non-emergency telephone number is staffed 24/7 to give you support and advice.

Visit a police station

If you'd prefer to speak to an officer in person, we can provide a safe and comfortable environment at any of our police stations.

Hate crime reporting centres

Also known as third-party reporting centres, these are places you can go for advice from trained people if you don't want to go to the police.

1st Stop

71 New George Street, Plymouth, PL1 1RJ
Phone: 01752 304321

Ambito Care

75-77 Cornwall Street, Plymouth, PL1 1NS
Phone: 01752 221002

British Red Cross

The Public Dispensary, 18 Catherine Street, Plymouth, PL1 2AD
Phone: 01752 831600

Brook Housing Ltd

Lyster Court, Millfields, Stonehouse, Plymouth, PL1 3JB
Phone: 01752 230185

Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support

7 Whimple Street, Plymouth, PL1 2DH
Phone: 01752 265952

Havencare (South West) Ltd

Lyster Court, Millfields, Stonehouse, Plymouth, PL1 3JB
Phone: 01752 251476

Intercom Trust

74 Mutley Plain, Mutley, Plymouth, PL4 6LF
Phone: 0800 612 3010

Open Doors International Language School

28 Woodland Terrace Lane, Plymouth, PL4 8QL
Phone: 01752 258771

Open Hearts Open Borders (OHOB)

Phone: 07912 294122

Out Youth

Phone: 01752 312546

Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council

Harwell Centre, 28-42 Harwell Court, Western Approach, Plymouth, PL1 1PY
Phone: 01752 224555

Plymouth Central Library

Taylor Maxwell House, 167-171 Armada Way, Plymouth, PL1 1HZ
Phone: 01752 305900

Migrant Social Integration

4A Cattedown Road, Plymouth, PL4 0AY
Phone: 01752 957510

Plymouth People First

207 Outland Road, Plymouth, PL2 3PF
Phone: 01752 753713

Pride in Plymouth (CIC)

170 Rendle Street, Plymouth, PL1 1T
Phone: 07746 410593

Ridleys Plymouth Guild

Guild house, 156 Mannamead Road, Plymouth, PL3 5QL
Phone: 01752 776775

Students and Refugees Together (START)

237 Union St, Plymouth, PL1 3HQ
Phone: 01752 255200

Suzanne Sparrow Plymouth Language School

72-74 North Road, East Plymouth, Devon, PL4 6AL
Phone: 01752 222700

The Eddystone Trust

2nd Floor, 11 Whimple Street, Plymouth, PL1 2DH
Phone: 01752 254406

Plymouth Community Homes

Plumer House, Tailyour Road,Crownhill,PL6 5DH


Who else can help me?

We understand that you may not be ready to talk to us about what has happened. The charities, groups, and organisations below can offer support, advice, and ways to report the incident without having to talk directly to the police.

  • Crimestoppers 
    A national charity with a free helpline for reporting crime anonymously. 
  • Tell MAMA 
    A national project supporting victims of anti-Muslim hate and monitoring anti-Muslim incidents.
  • Community Security Trust (CST)
    A charity protecting British Jews from antisemitism and related threats.
  • Galop 
    A national charity provides advice and support to members of the LGBT community.
  • True Vision
    A scheme owned by the National Police Chiefs' Council provides hate crime advice and online reporting.



Is the information correct?

Let us know if the information on this page is wrong and needs to be updated.

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