YOUNGER members of the largest non-white ethnic group in North Yorkshire don't recognise racial abuse as a criminal offence because it is consistent, a study has concluded.

Research by the county's Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan found many members of the Gurkha community in Catterick Garrison also do not report race hate incidents as they have no relationship with the police.

She commissioned the study following concerns hate crime - criminal offences motivated by hatred of someone because of their race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability - was being drastically under-reported in the county.

Researchers found residents in the Whitby and Scarborough area were more than twice as likely to be hate crime victims than their neighbours in Hambleton, Richmondshire and Ryedale districts.

Of the 613 hate incidents reported in 2013-2014 across the county, which has a 93.4 per cent white British population, 72 per cent were racial and 14 per cent over sexual orientation.

The report states: "Some communities, particularly those in Catterick, were happy to keep

themselves to themselves, and often had no relationship with the police.

"Some diverse and often hidden or hard to reach communities, such as the Nepalese and Fijian populations across North Yorkshire, fall under the radar of the police and other services."

The report recommends the force's officers be given specific training about diverse communities and that new ways of reporting hate crimes are developed.

It also states police must work with councils to develop a better response to hate crime in flash point areas, such pubs, nightclubs or public transport.

Mrs Mulligan said the report would provide police and partners with valuable insight into the barriers that contribute to low reporting in some communities.

She said: "I hope it proves to be a milestone in improving the service from here on in.

"Unlike most crimes I want to see an increase in reported incidents as this will signify an increased willingness in the public to come forward and confidence in their police service.”

Chief Inspector Nick Hunter said the force had been working on a new action plan to tackle hate crime since May.

He said: “I have been speaking to many different community groups over recent months about their experiences of hate crime, and it is clear some people are living with abuse because they don’t realise there is an alternative."

To report a hate crime, call 0800-138-1625 and for victims' support call 01904-669276.