Race crime 'moving beyond cities to towns and villages'

Image caption, Urban areas such Brixton in London saw racial tensions in the 1980s

Racially-motivated violence is moving from Britain's big cities to smaller towns and villages, according to a report.

The Institute of Race Relations analysed 660 attacks last year which had a racial element.

It said the pattern had "changed quite dramatically" in recent decades, as ethnic minorities have spread to areas which are traditionally "very white".

It also criticised politicians for raising tensions over immigration.

The IRR claimed politicians appeared to be competing over who could reduce immigration.

Outside the capital

The IRR report highlighted major changes in the "map of violence", as areas once seen as flashpoints in the 1970s and 1980s have become "at ease" with diversity.

"It is no longer poor, deprived areas of London such as Southall, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham, which witnessed many of the racial attacks and racist murders a generation or two ago, that are now so prone to serious attacks," the report said.

"Not only are black and ethnic minority communities now more established there, but also a whole history of struggle against racism has strengthened these communities."

The report continued: "But what was significant was that ethnic minorities in a whole host of cities, towns and areas, not traditionally associated with such violence, now appear to be experiencing it.

"These are areas which have traditionally been very white and are not affluent. In some cases core industries have gone and a whole generation of young people are without a future."

Asylum seekers, newly-arrived migrant workers and people with a Muslim appearance were particularly at risk, the report's author said.

Occupations in which individuals were isolated - such as taxi driving or working in small shops or take-aways - were found to present the most danger.

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