THE number of racially aggravated incidents in the Borders has increased, according to Borders police.

Officers recorded 21 racially aggravated incidents between December 2019 and March 2020, compared with 17 in the same period for 2018/19.

Chief Inspector Stuart Reid, Local Area Commander for the Borders, said: "While any rise in crime requires our appropriate attention, there is no evidence to suggest this slight increase is attributed to any specific issue, either locally or nationally.

"It is also important to note that our detection rate for racially aggravated offences has risen from 14 to 20, meaning only one of this year’s crimes remains undetected."

Ch Insp Reid added: "I want to make it clear that hate crime of any form will not be tolerated within the Borders and whenever such offences arise, we work hard to bring perpetrators to justice, while at the same time ensuring victims are adequately supported.

"We treat all hate crimes with the utmost seriousness and a thorough investigation will always be conducted when these matters are reported to us.

"If you have been a victim of a hate crime then please contact us via 101, or by using our third-party reporting mechanism.

“Alternatively, an anonymous report can be made to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

Councillor John Greenwell said: “Any form of racism has to be deplored – even if it's indirect, it has to be stamped on.”

Mr Greenwell is the council’s equalities and diversity champion.