HATE CRIME in Hounslow is being tackled by the council.
The authority held its first Hate Crime Prevention Forum last week, with the aim of cracking down on the problem in the borough.
The meeting was held at the civic centre, and involved council staff, councillors, police, the Friends of Faith group, and the Hounslow Disability Network among other local organisations who now make up the forum.
The council says the aim of the event was to get groups to work together to develop and promote a co-ordinated response to hate crime in Hounslow.
Those present looked at issues surrounding victim support, deterring offenders and challenging prejudice to help create a safer community through integrated working.
A council spokesman said: "Along with sharing information, the group agreed a joint annual action plan to the borough’s community safety strategy and agreed recommendations on future policies and initiatives".
The Hate Crime Prevention Forum will meet six times each year, with further meetings scheduled for separate side projects.
It will report to the Hounslow Community Safety Partnership.
Cllr Ed Mayne, Hounslow’s lead member for crime and community safety, said: "Hate crime can destroy communities. It can breed suspicion, mistrust and alienation as well as fear. It can promote isolation, polarise areas and set up barriers that are hard to break down.
"Victims of hate crime are usually reluctant to report incidents to the authorities because of the trauma, fear and distress they suffer. By bringing together our community safety team, local police and residents, we can put in place rigid plans to deal more effectively with hate crime in the borough.
"The first meeting was effective in helping everyone involved work more closely together, and we hope that further meetings will help to ensure hate crime in the borough is kept to a minimum and dealt with appropriately".