A POLICE inspector has urged people to report hate crimes in Bolton after a disabled woman received verbal abuse in a retail park carpark in Horwich.

Abed Hussain, strategic inspector for hate crime in the borough, has said victims are supported through the process.

Henry Whitehead was out shopping with his mother and partner at Middlebrook retail park.

His mother, who does not wish to be named, uses a stick to walk having suffered from arthritis for several years and undergoing ankle fusion surgery. She also suffered a fall in February last year which affected her mobility.

As they were walking to their car after shopping in Marks and Spencer’s, a woman came up from behind and reportedly complained Henry’s mother, 52, was walking too slowly and she was in a rush.

Henry, 21, said: “She was walking behind us and said, ‘you’re walking too slow, some of us have places to be’.

“I wasn’t going to let this happen to my mum so I approached her and explained that my mum was disabled and can’t walk as fast as her.

“The woman then walked up to my mum and told her that she shouldn’t be coming out shopping anyway and that she should stay at home. I stayed quiet and my mum just asked her to leave us alone.

“She was very upset afterwards and didn’t want to do anything else that evening.

“My mum is an independent person and she shouldn’t be made to feel this way.

Insp Hussain said: “We take hate crime very seriously. I have personally been subjected to hate crime and I know the affect it can have on people.

“It’s very important that it is dealt with accordingly. We encourage victims of hate crime to come forward and report it. We follow up the initial report with a reassurance call 24 hours later as often they remember certain details after the event.

“Bolton has a very diverse community and we are working closely with different locations such as places of worships, community centres and libraries to create places where hate crime can be reported.

“I would always encourage people to come forward and report any incidents. That way we can pinpoint any recurring incidents or locations. Incidents can be reported online which is often quicker than calling 101.”

Greater Manchester Police Superintendent Ben Ewart has made it clear that the force treats all hate crime reports seriously.

He said: “Tackling hate crime in all our communities is a priority for Greater Manchester Police, as everyone should be able to go about their daily lives free from hate and abuse.

“Hate crime of any kind is never acceptable and to target someone because of any kind of disability is truly horrendous. 

"Unfortunately it is happening and it is under reported to the police.

"I want to encourage victims or those who have witnessed a hate crime, to come forward and report it.

"I can assure you that each report is taken seriously and support is available for victims.

"You can report a hate crime incident to Greater Manchester Police via the online reporting facility at gmp.police.uk or by visiting www.letsendhatecrime.com to report or receive help and support. In an emergency always dial 999.

“As a force we will continue to work with our communities, local authorities, community groups and other partners, and attend regular meetings to discuss the concerns of the disability so that we can work alongside them to improve the service we deliver."