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  1. ITV Report

Sussex Police launch hate crime reporting app

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne at the app launch Photo: ITV Meridian

The Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner has launched a new app to help people record evidence of hate crimes as they happen. It's hoped that more people will report crimes.

Suchi Chatterjee works for Sussex Police - but that hasn't made it any easier to report the times that people have abused her. When a drunk man started making comments about her wheelchair and trying to grab hold of her, all she wanted to do was get away and go home.

She said: "I was so frozen, I thought I need to report it, I need to report it, but I was really quite scared and it was my neighbour who actually said no, you've got to go out you've got to do this, because this has happened a second time."

The idea behind the Self Evident app backed by Sussex Police is to make it much easier for people to collect evidence as incidents happen - it's the only way members of the public can send photos and videos directly to the police. You can write statements, the app also logs your location, but you can send all information anonymously.

Alice Denny has experienced transphobia all her life. She thinks the app is a great idea.

She said: "I was walking on the sea front and thought there was a possiblity of something happening and it didn't, I thought wouldn't it be great if there was just something on my phone I could press, and if anyone, if these people then did approach me, I could say, I've already logged it on."

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne rejected the idea that it could be seen as a way for the public to do the police's job for them.

She said: "It's about giving people access and allowing them to report crimes."

She added: "If you're a victim of hate crime and you feel that you can't seek help anywhere, this app will completely change that. It will allow people to get hold of third party support and hopefully encourage them at a later stage, maybe then to go forward to the police and take things further."

The police say hate crime of all kinds is under-reported. The new app isn't intended to replace traditional methods of giving evidence, but they hope it will make people much more likely to come forward.