'WE continue to stand together against hatred and prejudice', says Greater Manchester’s interim mayor and police and crime commissioner.

Speaking on the eve of tomorrow's International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Tony Lloyd has praised the work going on across Greater Manchester to tackle hate crime and urges communities to continue on that journey to eradicate it from society.

“Racism can never be justified or explained away – it is a hate crime, pure and simple.

"Nobody should ever feel in fear of being discriminated against due to the colour of their skin.

“Racism and hatred of any kind is not tolerated in Greater Manchester.

"We are a multi-cultural community that welcomes and celebrates our diversity, bringing people together to share and learn about each other’s cultures and backgrounds.”

He added Greater Manchester has made great strides in raising awareness of hate crime, encouraging people to speak out.

The recent hate crime awareness week, for example, brought together all 10 of its local authorities, Greater Manchester Police, British Transport Police and other agencies, working with voluntary groups and communities to raise awareness, challenge perceptions and promote tolerance and respect.

Mr Lloyd also awarded £10,000 to the Wigan borough and the nine other local authorities in Greater Manchester to support their hate crime work.

He says that this work has been welcomed across all communities, bringing people together for community events, raising awareness of independent reporting centres and encouraging people to report hate crime via the new letsendhatecrime.com website.

“We have made great progress on our journey to ending hate crime, and we must keep up the pace,” Mr Lloyd added.

“Sadly some people in our community are still subjected to hatred and abuse, simply because of who they are.

"By continuing to shine a light on this issue, together we can end hate crime.”

Between last April 1 and December 31 more than 5,500 hate crimes or incidents were reported to GMP.

Of these 4,320 were racially motivated.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of hate crime you can report it to police on 101, or visit letsendhatecrime.com to find out how to report it online.