PEOPLE with learning disabilities in the Worcestershire area, spent time recently finding out how the police can help them if they become the victim of a hate crime.

More than 40 members of SpeakEasy, a self advocacy organisation for people with learning difficulties, attended a training session organised by West Mercia Police HQ last week, where they took part in a role play about a crime at a bus stop where victims were targeted because of their disability.

The group members were shown how they could report the crime, and what would happen next, through the investigation process and the arrest of an offender.

Inspector Peter Funnell, who works in the area of harm reduction for the force, said: "The main aim of the day was to engage with people with learning disabilities and it was great that so many from all over Worcestershire were able to come to the session.

"Hate crime is vastly underreported and we are always looking at new ways in which we can encourage victims of these types of crimes to come forward.

"This is the first time we have held an event like this and we hoped that by showing the process from the moment a crime happens to an offender being taken into custody, that this would develop a deeper understanding of hate crime and the importance of report it when it happens.

"The day went really well and we hope that those who attended now understand how the police can help them and will pass this information onto others living with similar disabilities in our communities."

Chief Officer of SpeakEasy, Sylvia Meyrick, said: "The visit to police HQ was excellent and it has helped our members feel more confident in reporting hate crime.

"A Mencap report showed nine out of ten people with learning disabilities have experienced bullying. Sadly, little of this is reported to the police so we hope that by working with West Mercia Police, we can help bring about an improvement in the situation."