Shocking official figures have been released showing hate crimes hit a record high in the last year.
Police in England and Wales recorded 103,379 hate crimes in 2018/19 – 10% more than the previous year and more than double the 2012/13 figure of 42,255.
Race remained the main trigger in the majority of reported offences at 76% of the total, an 11% rise in the last year from 71,264 to 78,991.
Offences triggered by religion rose by 3% from 8,339 to 8,566, the data showed.
Disability hate crimes rose by 14% from 7,221 to 8,256. Last week, we reported Freedom of Information revelations from disability charity Leonard Cheshire that revealed a worrying rise of attacks on people with disabilities reported to police forces. Chief executive Neil Heslop said: “Hate crime against disabled people is significantly up with worrying increases in violent offences. and called for more prosecutions.
There is also a worrying surge in the number of reported offences triggered by sexual orientation and transgender identity. The number of transgender identity hate crimes is up by 37% in the last year. There is also a troubling 25% hike in offences motivated by sexual orientation.
Hate crime spikes after EU referendum, terror attacks and Boris Johnson comments
Part of the increase could reflect a “real rise” in reports of crime, the Home Office said. However hate crime reports spiked after events such as the EU referendum and the terrorist attacks in 2017, as well as a rise in reports in the summer of 2018 and January this year.
We reported last month how there was a “significant spike” in islamophobic attacks – especially on women – in the wake of Boris Johnson’s newspaper rebuke of women in burkas, comparing them to letterboxes and bank robbers.
Diane Abbott MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, responding to the shocking increase in hate crime, said: “It’s a shocking indictment of this government that all types of recorded hate crime have at least doubled under the Tories. The rise in some categories of hate crime is even worse.
“It was the Tories who cut the police, and let down whole communities. But it has also been the incendiary words of politicians who have created a toxic atmosphere, including the Prime Minister whose comments comparing Muslim women to ‘bank robbers’ and ‘letterboxes’ took place while Islamophobic hate crime is rising. Ministers should accept that they bear a major responsibility for these terrible trends.”
More than half of the hate crimes recorded by the police were for public order offences, a third involved violence, while 5% were recorded as criminal damage and arson.
Around 12% of the offences were estimated to have more than one motivation, with the majority of these being both race and religion.
The figures prompted charity bosses and faith leaders to call for urgent action to be taken on hate crime, claiming research suggests that levels of the offence are far higher than those recorded in official data.
Calls for action against hate crimes against women and girls
Citizens UK said its demand for change has been supported by 18 rabbis, bishops and imams, as well as chief executives from Stonewall, the Muslim Council of Britain and the Fawcett Society.
The group also wants to see misogyny clearly defined as a hate crime on a national scale in a bid to tackle “widespread harassment and violence against women and girls”.
An academic study by Dr Farhan Samanani, of The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, commissioned by Citizens UK, indicated that the majority of people who took part – seven out of 10 of 1,031 respondents – had never reported a hate crime to the police.
Hate crimes are defined as those perceived to be motivated by hostility or prejudice of a characteristic.
Five strands are monitored nationally: race or ethnicity; religion or beliefs; sexual orientation; disability; and transgender identity.
But some police forces log other types of hostility under hate crime, including reports of misogyny and incidents where victims were targeted because of their age or membership of an “alternative sub-culture”, such as goths.