Race crime in Cheltenham makes up vast majority of all town hate crime
MORE than 90 per cent of all hate crimes which take place in Cheltenham are of a racist nature, figures have revealed.
Data released to the Echo under the Freedom of Information Act shows hate crime – defined as crime which is motivated by any form of prejudice – fell in Cheltenham in the last year by 45 per cent
However, of the 44 incidents reported, 41 one of them were race related.
It has raised concerns over the prevalence of racist attitudes in the town.
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Father-of-three Roby Mekkara, from Whaddon Road, was the subject of a string of racist attacks when he first arrived in the town – including having his door smashed in by yobs in a terrifying incident.
The 44-year-old, who is of Indian descent, said: "Although I absolutely believe it is a minority of people, there is quite a lot of racism in Cheltenham in terms of people's attitudes towards minority groups.
"Nothing has happened to me since I had my problems a few years ago but a friend of mine was abused and called 'Paki' outside the shop recently.
"It's the kind of thing that happens surprisingly often for a town like Cheltenham.
"It's predominantly a white town and I don't know why but these kind of attitudes are somehow still around."
As well as the 41 racially motivated crimes last year, there was one crime driven by prejudice against religion and another against someone's sexual orientation.
One more hate crime was classified as being prejudiced for an unknown reason.
Police said any form of hate crime was unacceptable and urged people to contact them if they witnessed one taking place.
A spokesman said: "Hate crimes have a very deep and lasting impact upon victims and are totally unacceptable within our communities.
"We are aware that these types of crimes go unreported and so we would encourage anyone who has witnessed or has been a victim of hate crime to report it to us.
"We work in partnership with other agencies under the Gloucestershire Hate Crime and Incident Action Group.
"Hate crime is not acceptable."
More information on hate crimes in Gloucestershire can be found at www.gloucestershire.police.uk.