A NEW police team tackling hate crime wants more people to come forward.

More than 100 hate incidents were reported last year in Breightmet and the Haulgh but officers think this is just a drop in the ocean, with many cases going unreported.

Led by 12-year Bolton police veteran Sergeant Anna Worthy, the the Bolton North Place-based Initiative (PBI) aims to work with a variety of organisations to tackle the root causes of crime.

Hate crime is one of the PBI's priorities, as it is across GMP, but the group will look to deal with all types of crime and represents a new style of policing which will see officers work closely with other public services.

Sgt Worthy's team consists of three PCs, two PCSOs and support and its launch this week means launched residents will see more officers on the streets.

Police believe people are not reporting hate crime incidents because they do not know where to take their concerns but they have urged people to come forward so that they can understand the scale of the problem, with concerns including verbal or physical abuse and racist symbols used in graffiti.

READ MORE: How joint working is helping the police get to the root of repeat callers

Sgt Worthy said: "It's so important that we get the response right on hate crime, it's one of the worst things that can happen to people. We need it reported for us to do our bit.

"People don't always know what to do, they don't understand the process of how to report it. For us to take action we need people to report it to us. We need to understand what's going on."

Chief inspector Mike Russell explained that the PBI's work would just be the beginning, with GMP planning to do more work with community and faith groups to tackle hate crime issues.

"Hate crime is a force and a divisional priority," he said.

"We will be doing more community work to encourage reporting as it really important people know how to report hate crime and incidents to us.

"We will also be looking to work with all faith establishments to teach them how they can report crime on behalf of their members or to help their members to do that."

READ MORE: What is a hate crime and how do you report it?

As well as working on hate crime, the team plans to use its links with other agencies to get to the root of ongoing problems - especially involving people who repeatedly call 999 - in an effort to reduce the pressure on under-resourced emergency services.