The Scottish Government spent almost £400,000 on a public information campaign on the hate crime act, it is being reported.

The 'Hate Hurts' promotion included TV adverts, billboards and social media adverts and featured the message: "If you witness a hate crime, report it." 

It ran across Scotland for 20 days, from March 11-31.

Some 7152 complaints were received by Police Scotland in the first week after the act came into force on April 1 with almost half made on the first day.

READ MORE: 'Hate crime act won't divert from violent crime fight'

Most of the complaints were anonymous and no further action was taken after they were assessed, while 240 hate crimes were recorded by officers. Police also dealt with 430 incidents where a hate crime tag was added.

The Hate Crime and Public Order bill was introduced in response to an independent review of Scotland’s hate crime laws by Lord Bracadale. 

The legislation broadens the offence of “stirring up racial hatred”, extending it to the protected characteristics of disability, religion, sexual orientation, age, and transgender identity.

READ MORE: Explained: What are Scotland's new Hate Crime Laws?

It also provides for harsher sentences for those convicted of crimes considered to be “aggravated by prejudice”, so if offenders demonstrate malice or ill-will towards their victim based on the protected characteristics.

However, those characteristics do not include sex, an omission criticised by many feminist groups. Separate legislation relating to the hatred of women is being prepared for ministers after a review led by Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws KC.

Concerns had been raised ahead of the legislation being enforced of both the impact on free speech and the readiness of officers to deal with it.

Earlier this week, Stewart Carle, general secretary of the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS), said the high number of reports will not divert attention away from serious crimes.

Speaking to The Herald newspaper, he said "threats to life and violence" would continue to be the force's priority.

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Sharon Dowey said: "The huge sum of public money lavished by the SNP on promoting Humza Yousaf's shambolic hate crime law will rightly stick in the craw of Scotland's police officers.

"Police Scotland could desperately use that £400,000 as they plough through the mountain of extra work generated by SNP ministers encouraging the public to report incidents - and which we're told is leading to a huge overtime bill. It also makes a mockery of SNP ministers' apparent shock at the number of vexatious complaints being made to police.

"They ran a nationwide publicity drive, at taxpayers' expense, urging people to report hate incidents to the police, and now have the cheek to wring their hands at the volume of them. The SNP's flawed law, which was inexplicably supported by Labour and the Liberal Democrats, is unravelling just as legal experts and the Scottish Conservatives predicted. It must be ditched now."

The Scottish Daily Mail reports that figures published in response to a freedom of information request show that last month's 'Hate Hurts' campaign cost £389,689.50. A video advert shows an individual looking at messages on a mobile phone, alongside the words: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words make me feel hated just for being me."

Launching the public information campaign community safety minister Siobhian Brown said: "We must do all we can to give victims and witnesses the confidence to report instances of hate crime, which is why we have launched a new campaign, 'Hate Hurts'. The campaign is informed by lived experience, and explains what a hate crime is, the impact it has on victims and how to report it."