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  1. ITV Report

Rise in hate crimes after Brexit 'could have been expected' says police chief

Cambridgeshire police control room. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

The Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire has admitted he should have predicted a sharp rise in hate crime in the county following Brexit.

Reported incidents were 75% higher this summer - from June til August -than the same time last year.

Cambridgeshire's police control took 269 calls about suspected hate crimes in the months immediately following the EU referendum compared with just 155 for the same period in 2015.

The county hit the headlines after racist leaflets - with the words "no more Polish vermin" - were distributed in Huntingdon just a few days after the vote.

Alec Wood, Cambridgeshire's chief constable. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

"Whatever way the result had gone, we may have experienced the level of intolerance and hatred we did immediately afterwards. In hindsight, that's probably something we could have anticipated a bit more.

"Committing a crime because of somebody's nationality, religion, race, colour, gender or sexuality, whatever it may be, is abhorrent. We're really determined to investigate robustly anybody who commits offences of that nature."

– Alec Wood, Chief Constable, Cambridgeshire.

Mr Wood is marking a year since he took on the top job at Cambridgeshire Police and has had a tough introduction.

He admits hate crimes have proven difficult to get to court - with just 25% making it as far as a judge or magistrates.

Although, once in court, nine out of 10 cases lead to conviction.

"They're not always the easiest cases to bring to a court because of the nature and sometimes the vulnerability of the victim but where we possibly can we will do."

– Alec Wood.

The number of incidents has now gone down again.

But in Huntingdon, people are still uneasy following recent experiences of hate crime.

Marta Pierzchala said would consider moving out of the county.

Marta Pierzchala. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

"I have already had a discussion with my partner about what we are going to do because we are many years here but, if it's going to get worse and worse, we need to consider maybe living somewhere else."

– Marta Pierzchala.

Watch Claire McGlasson's report below.