Police have named targeting hate crime against takeaway staff as a priority.

Officers will focus on Braintree town centre in a bid to tackle hate crime, which they believe goes largely unreported.

It is part of wider priority to wipe out disorder in the town centre.

Insp Paul Davey said there had only been one report of this crime type but that was concerning.

In November last year a 21-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated assault and criminal damage following an incident in Subway in Manor Street, Braintree.

Mr Davey said: “Takeaway staff are very vulnerable to that sort of behaviour because of the time and the people they serve, who can have been drinking.

“I am not convinced it was a one off and don’t think this is the only occurrence so I want to give them support.

“We will be doing regular visits and chatting to staff when we can.”

He said areas near takeaways can tend to be hotspots for trouble late a night and they always keep track of the situation across the district.

A Subway spokesman said: "The SUBWAY® brand takes any form of abuse towards its members of staff extremely seriously and will do whatever is necessary to support and protect them."