ESSEX Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston has called on victims of hate crime in Southend to report the offences to police.

Mr Alston made the comments after seeing a play at the Arc Theatre as the guest of Southend Ethnic Minority Forum.

The production followed a family’s anxiety after having their van covered in white paint, as they debate whether or not to call the police for fear of reprisals.

Mr Alston said: “Nick Alston said: "The play by Arc was thought-provoking and highlighted the dilemmas often faced by victims. I understand why victims are sometimes reluctant to report.

“However if we’re to stop hate crime, police must know where and when it’s happening.

"Chief Inspector Matt Bennett attended the event and emphasised the force has a real commitment to responding to and investigating hate crime so the key message of the day was to please report incidents to Essex Police.”

The event, held on April 12, was dubbed ‘An Afternoon with Nick Alston’ and allowed members of the community to pitch their questions to the commissioner.