Hundreds of hate crimes in the Braintree area are going unreported, it is feared.

Between April 1 and November 30 last year there were 38 recorded hate crimes in the district, compared to 47 in the same period in 2011.

But Det Sgt Tracy Martinez, who heads Essex Police’s hate crime investigations team, believes this shows just a small percentage of actual victims.

She said: “My concern is that I do not believe that is a true reflection of what is going on.

“Part of our strategy is that we want to reduce under-reporting of hate crime, and part of the strategy and the group’s work will be around increasing reporting.

“It might seem alarming but actually hate crime won’t be rising, the reporting of it will be rising.

“Once we get a true reflection of what’s going on out there then we can work on the other part to reduce repeat victims."

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