Hundreds of hate crimes were reported in the borough last year, two thirds of which were race-related.
A report from Greater Manchester Police has revealed that 392 offences of prejudice featuring physical and verbal violence were recorded between August 2016 and July 2017, a six per cent increase on the previous 12 months.
Of these, 67 per cent were categorised as “racially-motivated”, 19 per cent were relating to “sexual orientation” and eight per cent were made up by crimes involving transgender people, religion and “alternative subculture”.
The shocking figures also highlight that nine per cent of hate crimes were directed at disabled people.
A report reviewed by the council’s health and well-being board revealed that only half the amount of race hate crimes committed may be reported to police across the country.
The document states: “Under-reporting varies significantly between different strands: recent figures in England suggest one in two racist hate crimes are reported to the police; this drops to one in four for homophobic crimes, one in 10 for religiously motivated hate crimes, and one in 19 for disability hate crimes.
“Research indicates that victims do not report hate crime for fear the police and authorities will not believe them. The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Hidden in Plain Sight report suggests disabled victims are also likely to fear the consequences of reporting the crime.”
According to research done by GMP, action taken by forces to improve their compliance with the National Crime Recording Standard is leading to an improved rate of reporting hate crimes.
Wigan’s reporting approach has been deemed “good” both when it comes to compliance and also compared to other divisions within Greater Manchester.
Will Blandamer, assistant director for partnerships, safeguarding and reform at Wigan Council, said: “We want Wigan borough to be a welcoming and open place where people from all over the world are happy to come here and make their home.
“Everyone is entitled to live their lives without experiencing discrimination and prejudice and we will continue to work with GMP in line with our zero tolerance approach to such behaviour.
“Our #BelieveImOnlyHuman campaign helps to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance among others and we have received much positive feedback from the real-life stories we have told through the campaign.”
Hate Crime Awareness Week launched across Greater Manchester today. The theme is ‘No bystanders’ and the council will be joining up with other regional local authorities to encourage people to report hate crimes rather than being a bystander.
A local authority spokesperson said: “It is a promise for all local authorities to support people and is a call for a united Greater Manchester.
“Some activities during the week include; working with local youth groups to understand the importance of accepting peoples differences, information stalls borough-wide, working with the police and health partners and more.
“We will also launch our anti-bullying campaign during the week to tackle online bullying.”
To pledge your support for the campaign visit the council's website