Hate crime 'still far too high' post-Brexit - police

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Media caption,
Brenda Crawford has been describing how she was racially abused at a bus stop

More than 6,000 hate crimes have been reported to police in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the wake of the EU referendum, figures show.

There was a slight fall in reports in the first half of July compared with an initial spike in the days before and after the 23 June vote, the National Police Chief's Council said.

But the overall level was up 20% on the same period in July 2015.

Police chiefs said the figures were "still far too high".

There were 3,192 alleged hate crimes reported between 16-30 June this year and a further 3,001 reports between 1 and 14 July - equivalent to more than 200 every day, updated figures show.

It was previously revealed that the daily rate peaked at 289 reports on June 25 - the day after the result of the referendum was announced.

Scotland Yard deputy commissioner Craig Mackey said the Brexit vote appeared to have "unleashed something in people".

UK forces were asked to disclose weekly hate crime numbers after an increase in reports to True Vision, a police-funded website.

Last month, following the UK vote to leave the EU, David Cameron condemned incidents including "verbal abuse hurled" at ethnic minorities, and "despicable" graffiti on a Polish community centre.

In Walsall a bottle of "ignited liquid" was thrown at an employee of a halal butchers while BBC presenter Trish Adudu described how she was subjected to a racist tirade in Coventry city centre.

BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said the rise in reports could also be in part due to increased awareness of the problem and greater awareness of how to report it.

Media caption,
BBC presenter Trish Adudu racially abused on street

The main type of offence reported over the month was "violence against the person", which includes harassment and common assault, as well as verbal abuse, spitting and "barging".

Public order offences and criminal damage were the second and third most common incidents, police said.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for hate crime, said: "Following increases in hate crime seen after the EU referendum, police forces have been taking a robust approach to these crimes and we are pleased to see the numbers of incidents have begun to fall.

"Clearly any hate crime is unacceptable and these numbers are still far too high. We remain committed to helping people feel safe and secure about being themselves as they go about their lives so police officers will continue to be out around the country engaging with communities and picking up and dealing with tensions and problems."

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