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Teenagers arrested in hate crime investigation

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Teenage girls have been arrested in connection with an ongoing investigation into hate crimes in Taunton.

Officers have been investigating a series of offences in Taunton between Thursday 3 and Saturday 5 August, in which a number of people were being verbally abused and harassed. We are treating this as a hate crime based off information provided by the victims.

A 13 and 14-year-old were arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences on 3 August and were released under investigation.

In relation to the incident on the 5 August, the same two girls were arrested on suspicion of harassment. The 14-year-old was further arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker.

Also on the 5 August, a third girl, aged 17, was also arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker. This is not being treated as hate-related.

The 17-year-old have been released under investigation while the other two teenagers have been released on police bail.

Neighbourhood Inspector Mike Griffiths said: “There is no home for hate in our communities and we understand the impact this can have on those who are targeted because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.

“We would like to reassure them that we are working hard to crack down on these offences and hold those accountable to justice.

“There will be increased police patrols in the area to provide reassurance to the community and we are working with our multi-agency partners, including the local authority, social services and youth offending teams.”