A NEW national campaign against hate crime will see the instalment of a “big message” billboard at a Bradford city centre transport hub.

Organisers of the “Upstanders not Bystanders” campaign are appealing for donations to help fund the project which will see a large poster put in place at Bradford Interchange.

The initiative, headed by anti-hate crime agency Faith Matters, is about high visibility with a focus on targeting commuters.

Its aim is to make members of the public feel more confident when supporting victims of hate crime and reporting this type of incident.

This comes amid a surge in hate crimes in recent years.

Figures from the Home Office showed hate crimes recorded by police in England and Wales rose by nearly a fifth last year.

There were 94,098 such offences recorded by police in total in 2017/18, an increase of 17% on the previous year.

The majority of these offences were categorised as race hate crimes (just over 75 per cent of the total), but other cases represented were crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation, religion or disability.

Some incidents saw victims abused for multiple motivations.

Spikes in hate crime could be attributed to terror attacks, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for hate crime, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton.

But, he also said the increases are partly down to more victims reporting these crimes and this campaign aims to promote more of this practice.

Fiyaz Mughal OBE, Founder and Director of Faith Matters said: “Now is the time to stand up for what we are. Each one of us can be an agent for positive change and help reduce hatred, racism and prejudice.”

The initial proposal for the project includes a three-station poster campaign on escalators in Victoria, Paddington and King’s Cross stations, in the capital.

As well as at Bradford Interchange, large billboards will be put in place at Manchester Piccadilly, Birmingham New Street, Leeds and Sheffield - visible when people leave the stations for other public transport or taxi sites. A spokesperson for Faith Matters said it hopes to finalise poster designs in December, ready to be rolled out in January next year.

They said: “We want to make each poster bespoke to the specific areas, for example there may be a particular hate crime that is prevalent in Bradford which we’d target.”

Organisers have set a £50,000 target on a crowdfunding site to help support the campaign. For more information and to help fund the project visit: crowdfunder.co.uk/no2h8”