THE number of race-related crimes in West Berkshire has risen by 40 per cent in the last year, according to worrying new police statistics.
Figures released by Thames Valley Police show there were 74 racist incidents where a crime was recorded in 2016/17, compared to 53 in 2015/16.
The figures also show the number of “racially or religiously aggravated crimes” rose by 33 per cent.
The previous year had seen a decrease in such incidents.
The jump is significantly higher than that seen across the rest of the Thames Valley, with the force area as a whole seeing an increase of 11.2 per cent in racist incidents.
The annual crime figures, released yesterday (Wednesday) show the number of crimes reported between April 2016 and March 2017.
Crime overall is on the increase in West Berkshire, with a rise of 7.8 per cent in 2016/17, following a drop in reported offences in 2015/16.
The district has also seen a significant rise (24.6 per cent) in reported rapes, for the third time in three years.
The number of sexual offences overall has risen by 21.2 per cent in the last year.
The Thames Valley as a whole saw an increase of 4.2 per cent.
Superintendent Jim Weems, Local Policing Area Commander for West Berkshire, said while overall reports of crime had risen, figures remained low per head of population.
He said: “Campaigns such as #Protectyourworld in the autumn and our February rural crime campaign are good examples of how we have raised awareness and confidence in our communities in reporting incidents to us.
“This raised awareness and confidence is reflected in the increases we have seen in reports of crime types such as sexual offences.
“Despite this increase, we know that this remains an under-reported crime and we are committed to encouraging people to come forward and report these incidents to us.”