THIS week, a woman was attacked with bleach in a racist strike as she was walking to work in broad daylight.

The attack not only horrified local Horwich residents, but police too. Officers are now speaking out in the wake of the incident about hate crime and how people can report concerns.

Sergeant Phil Brown leads the Placed Based Initiative, a team of police officers fighting hate crime on the street from their base in Breightmet.

He spoke of the shock of Tuesday's bleach attack, saying: "I'm shocked at the nature of the attack. We need to do all we can to support this lady and find who has done this. They are mindless yobs.

"In a small community like Horwich, you don't expect this — you really don't expect it anywhere."

The sergeant has been dedicated to uncover hate crime over the last nine months, but his team of officers are finding that the only way to make sure victims get the outcome they want is by taking a unique approach to each complex case.

He said: "Hate crime is massively under reported, especially for certain groups suffering hate crimes, such as people with disabilities.

"There are a number of reasons why people don't report.

"Some people don't see a point to it. Hate crime perpetrators can often be unknown to them, especially if an incident happens in the street and it's a random person that has committed the offence.

"These are also difficult conversations to have. We are asking these people to talk openly about membership of a minority community that they might not have even disclosed to their family yet, such as their sexuality."

To encourage more people to get in touch with the police, the sergeant says officers have adapted their methods, putting the victim first.

He said: "It needs to be an honest conversation. In cases where the victim doesn't know the person or there is no CCTV, we might not be able to give them criminal outcome but we can listen to them and find a way of best supporting them.

"A police officer visit might work for one person, but it might be someone else's worst nightmare."

In cases involving refugees, Sergeant Brown said that the team has arranged English lessons for people that feel it would help them integrate into the community. He said: "Not every victim wants to go to court, we seek an improvement for the families."