HATE crimes and violent offences are on the rise in Barnsley, according to a police report obtained by the Chronicle.

According to latest figures - from April to June - 178 hate crime reports were lodged with police across Barnsley.

This is an increase of 42 hate crimes since the previous quarter - from January to March - with racial hatred accounting for most offences at 61 per cent.

Sexual orientation (22 per cent), disability (11 per cent), transgender (4 per cent) and religion (2 per cent) made up the remainder.

It comes despite Barnsley Council and local policing teams working together through the No Place For Hate campaign, which was championed following a series of reports made by council employees who revealed the abuse they had received online.

The police report said: “The increase in hate crimes may be attributable to factors including the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions and more confidence in reporting.

“There are no identified trends or patterns in respect of this increase and the positive action outcome rate is 17.3 per cent.

“Hate crime remains a priority area of focus within Barnsley, led by Chief Inspector Andy Berriman, the force’s hate crime lead.

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“Most hate crimes are now managed by neighbourhood policing teams, allowing for a greater level of victim safeguarding and reassurance.”

Barnsley has also experienced an increase in offences of violence, with or without injuries, recording 1,564 between April and June - more than 400 more than the previous quarter.

Knife-related crime rose, with Barnsley recording 77 out of a force total of 487 offences - 15.8 per cent - compared to 57 recorded crimes experienced in the borough and 373 offences across the county.

The report added: “Tackling incidents of violence, particularly serious violence, remains a strategic priority within Barnsley and the wider force area.

“From April 1, the force received further funding from the Home Office to address serious violence.

“As a result, work is underway to maximise patrol time in key hotspots during peak hours.

“There is just one area identified in Barnsley, this being the town centre area, which ranks 15th out of the 15 geographic priority areas across the force.

“Work to tackle knife crime continued under Operation Sceptre, the national knife crime initiative, between April 26 and May 2.

“This included neighbourhood policing team-led engagement stalls to educate the public around the dangers and consequences of knife crime and other operational activity, including open land weapons searches in the Kendray area, where two knives were recovered.

“A further Operation Sceptre planned week of action is scheduled to take place next month.”

The No Place For Hate campaign has been joined by eight other businesses and organisations across the borough including Barnsley College, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and the Barnsley LGBT+ Forum who will all work to eliminate online abuse across their social media platforms.

It has been backed by council leader, Sir Steve Houghton, who praised the initiative.

“There is no place for hate in Barnsley and it’s not acceptable in any form,” he added.

“The vast majority of residents are great but it’s the small minority that needs to be aware that their actions have consequences.

“Hopefully this campaign will also give people the power to ‘call-out’ abusive behaviour when they see it, to let others know that that sort of language won’t be tolerated.”