HATE crime is a vile attack on someone for something over which they have no control.

It does not have to involve violence ­— but often does ­— and is a type of bullying that has lead to depression, self-harm and even suicide among victims.

There is no place in society for people who target others because of their race, religion, sexuality, disability or beliefs.

It is a spiteful and dangerous crime that often leaves victims too afraid or embarrassed to speak out. Because of this, many incidents go unreported and the offender is free to target people again and again.

Police have teamed up with other agencies to tackle the problem in Bolton, where a many incidents are linked to cultural and religious beliefs.

The team will be working with these groups to make sure people know how to report hate crimes and identify racist language as well as symbols in graffiti.

It is not just a problem in Bolton ­— this hatred and discrimination goes on across the country.

But police and other organisations involved in the town are right to be tackling it in this proactive way.

Only by understanding the scale of the problem can they begin to identify those involved and start to tackle the root of the problem.

It is also important that anyone who witness discrimination taking place challenges this behaviour and reports it to the relevant authorities.