A RAINBOW police car using the pride colours has been launched by Merseyside police to increase awareness and reporting of hate crime.

The vehicle, which has the words Police with Pride emblazoned across the rainbow flag, will be used as a response car across Merseyside.

The car will also be used at a variety of community events including LGBT events such as Liverpool Pride, International Day Against Homophobia Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) events and Homotopia to represent the force.

The car, launched today, Thursday, April 20, also features the Crimestoppers logo and Stop Hate UK website address.

Assistant Chief Constable Julie Cooke said: "While it’s out and about on the roads of Merseyside, it is hoped the car will grab the attention of everyone who sees it.

"We know hate crime in all its forms is under-reported. We believe any step that shows in a visible way that we support those members of our communities most likely to be the victims of hate crime is a positive one.

"This car will not just attend hate crime incidents, it will be seen out and about going to all manner of incidents and we hope that it will stimulate conversations with the communities we go into.

"This is not a one-off gesture – the car is just one of the many ways in which Merseyside Police show our support for victims of hate crime across Merseyside.

"We hope this will encourage more victims of hate crime to come forward and report incidents to the police, and also further increase engagement with the public."

Anyone with information about hate crime should contact Merseyside Police on 101.

Alternatively contact Stop Hate Crime’s 24-hour helpline on 0800 1381625.

In an emergency always call 999.