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14 May 2019, 12:06 | Updated: 14 May 2019, 12:20
A Luton-based health charity has become the latest in a line of third party reporting centres helping victims of hate crime to report their experience.
The Terrence Higgins Trust offers HIV and sexual health services at its branch in Manor Road, and will now also allow victims and witnesses of hate crime to report the matter in comfortable surroundings. The service is available for those who may not feel comfortable going directly to the police.
Bedfordshire Police works together with a wide variety of partners across the county who perform the role of third party reporting centres.
Superintendent Jaki Whittred, who is the strategic lead for Hate Crime in the force, said: “We have worked hard to give victims improved opportunities to report hate crime, and it is great that we have yet another Bedfordshire-based charity on the list to offer this.
“Hate crime is unacceptable and can have far-reaching consequences for those who have been victimised because of their identity. This issue remains under-reported and our third party reporting centres play an important role in encouraging victims to come forward.”
Terrence Higgins Trust staff have now also been trained to assist victims or witnesses in submitting a report to the police and can make such a report on the victim’s or witness’ behalf.
Kirstin Dear, Senior HIV Prevention and Support Officer at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "Terrence Higgins Trust stands in solidarity with Bedfordshire Police on tackling hate crime.
"As a charity we come into contact with a wide range of different people and try to offer holistic support. That’s why being able to support people in a non-judgemental way around reporting hate crime is a valuable addition to what we offer in Luton."
If you or anyone you know has been affected by hate crime contact Bedfordshire Police on 101 or contact True Vision online at report-it.org.uk or via one of the Third Party Reporting Centres which can be found on the Bedfordshire Police website.
Don't ever suffer in silence.
You can also keep up with what Bedfordshire Police is doing to tackle hate crime by following @hatecrimeteam on Twitter.
To contact the Terrence Higgins Trust in Luton visit: https://www.tht.org.uk/centres-and-services/luton