PEOPLE in Halesowen can report hate crimes to the BID office in the town centre.

Halesowen BID has teamed up with West Midlands Police and is now a registered ‘third party reporting centre.’

This means people can report hate crimes, anonymously if they wish, at the office in Hagley Street opposite Wilkos - with the information then passed on to police.

Halesowen BID Manager Vicky Rogers, who was an award-winning PCSO in Dudley before working for the BID, said it was an opportunity to put some of her policing skills to good use in her role as town centre manager.

Vicky said: "Third party reporting centres are community locations where victims can report incidents without having to contact the police directly.

"Staff at the centre have been trained to help people report a hate crime. This can be done anonymously if preferred - the information is then passed to the local police force.

"The office is being used more and more for community support.

"This week we have also worked with Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Halesowen College and hosted job clubs for the 50 plus and lone parents, as well as a dementia café and play list for life sessions.

"Halesowen BID are proud to supporting the whole community of Halesowen along with the local business network."

Hate crime is when someone is targeted because of their disability, gender identity, race, religion/belief, sexual orientation.

Hate crimes can take many forms including verbal abuse, threatening behaviour, harassment, abuse on phone/internet, physical abuse, damage, offensive graffiti, neighbour disputes and bullying.

Anyone can report a hate crime incident whether they are a victim a witness or a third party.

National statistics show that hate crime is under reported.