MORE hate crimes are being reported in Colchester, according to new figures.

The number reported to Essex Police from April to August this year compared with the same time in 2012 is up by 34.5 per cent.

Officers have said the rise is down to a new attitude by Essex Police in encouraging people to report it.

They said they did not believe it was down to an increase in crime.

A spokesman said: “Our latest statistics show a 34.5 per cent increase in reports of hate crime in the Colchester district from 29 between April and August in 2012 to 39 in the same period this year.

“However, the increase is mainly as a result of more people coming forward to report crimes of this nature following the extensive work carried out by our specialist hate crime officers in the local community and especially with minority groups.

“We have also introduced an incident review process to identify crimes which may not initially have been considered as hate-related crime.”

This week commuters were disgusted when faced with racist graffiti in an underpass in Westway, Colchester.

Colchester Council street wardens removed the graffiti on Wednesday.

Anyone with information can call Colchester police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.