Reports of race hate crimes have risen sharply in communities right across Kirklees, according to shocking new police figures.
One Labour councillor has promised an investigation into the statistics after they revealed that 16 of the 23 Kirklees wards have recorded rises in race hate incidents since 2010.
In Huddersfield, reported incidents rose in wards including Almondbury, Ashbrow, Crosland Moor and Netherton, Denby Dale, Golcar, Greenhead, Newsome and Dalton.
There were also rises in both Batley wards, Birstall, Cleckheaton, Liversedge and Gomersal and in two Dewsbury wards.
In Newsome - a ward which includes Huddersfield town centre - there were 85 race hate incidents last year, compared with 61 in 2010.
And in Greenhead the number of incidents went from 19 to 38 over the same period. Dalton ward saw 19 incidents in 2010 and 30 last year.
In Dewsbury West, the number of incidents went from 46 in 2010 to 77 last year.
Councillors have expressed concern about the rises.
Greenhead Labour councillor Sheikh Ullah has promised an investigation into the figures, which were released prior to the EU referendum, and is proposing to raise the issue at the next ward meeting.
Clr Ullah said: “These figures are of concern as it has doubled (in Greenhead) over five years. Although it is of concern, I have every faith in West Yorkshire Police, our Safer Kirklees department and Steve Cotter (district commander, Kirklees Police). I will investigate these figures with Safer Kirklees and put the issue on the ward meeting agenda.”
Newsome Green councillor Andrew Cooper said that the figures for his own area were skewed by the fact that the town centre was part of the ward.
He said late-night incidents in the town centre had pushed up the figures.
However, the rising number of incidents does concern him.
“I do find it worrying and it is unacceptable. All crime is unpleasant but particularly hate crime which is right at the forefront of lots of people’s minds.”
Cllr Cooper said he was particularly worried about Islamaphobic attacks on Muslims.
“That is increasing. There are people who are abusing those of Muslim faith who are just going about their own business.”
Separate figures released by the Home Office revealed that religiously and racially motivated crimes have increased by 78 per cent in West Yorkshire since 2012.
West Yorkshire Police recorded 2,384 racially or religiously aggravated crimes in 2015, an increase of 70 per cent from the number recorded in 2014 and 78 per cent more than the 1,343 recorded in 2012.
This is the seventh largest increase in such crime for any police force area over the past four years.
Within West Yorkshire, Bradford had the highest rate of racially or religiously aggravated crime with 13.1 instances for every 10,000 residents while Calderdale saw the biggest increases in such crimes in West Yorkshire, with levels in 2015 nearly treble those in 2012.
The Kirklees figure was 8.3 incidents per 10,000 residents, fewer than Leeds, Bradford and Calderdale.
West Yorkshire Police said reports of hate crimes had risen nationally as well as locally.
Chief Superintendent Steve Cotter, district commander of Kirklees Police, said: “Reports of hate crime and hate incidents have increased nationally in recent years, and this includes within West Yorkshire.
“The increases in Kirklees are very much part of a trend across the force. Public awareness of hate crime and the need to report it is something which has greatly increased and this is something which is welcomed by the police.
“West Yorkshire Police relaunched its joint hate crime awareness campaign with the Police and Crime Commissioner last October, and this will account for some of the recent increases.
“The force continues to raise awareness and local authorities and partners such as Stop Hate UK have also been running their own campaigns to raise awareness of hate and how to report it.
“It is vital that people have the confidence to come forward and tell us if they have either been a victim of, or witnessed, such behaviour.”
He added: “We take every report extremely seriously and will investigate thoroughly, putting support in place for the victim and ensuring that appropriate action is taken.
“Even if what’s happened isn’t a criminal offence the police still need to know so they can ensure support and advice is offered to those involved and action is taken where appropriate.”