UK

Hate crimes recorded by police up 10%

A stock image of three female friends Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Just under half of religious hate crime offences targeted Muslims

There has been a 10% rise in hate crimes recorded by police in England and Wales.

There were a record 103,379 offences in 2018-19, Home Office figures show.

The Home Office said the increase was largely driven by better recording by police but charities said the figures were "the tip of the iceberg".

Hate crimes are offences motivated by hostility towards someone's race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.

Race hate crimes accounted for around three-quarters of offences (78,991) and rose by 11% on the previous year.

Transgender hate crime went up 37% to 2,333. For sexual orientation the rise was 25% to 14,491, for disability 14% to 8,256 and for religion 3% to 8,566.

Over half (54%) of the hate crimes recorded by the police were for public order offences and a further third (36%) were for violence against the person offences.

Five per cent were recorded as criminal damage and arson offences.

Hate crimes can include verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, assault and bullying, as well as damage to property.

The Home Office said the increase in hate crime over the past five years is thought to have been driven by improvements in recording by police and a growing awareness of hate crime.

However, it added that there had been "short-term genuine rises in hate crime" following certain events such as the 2016 EU referendum and "part of the increase over the last year may reflect a real rise in hate crimes recorded by the police".

It said the large percentage increases for transgender, disability and sexual orientation hate crimes were "partly due to the smaller number of these crimes", while more people may also be coming forward to report them.

Laura Russell, a director at the charity Stonewall, said: "While it is possible that the increase is due to higher confidence in reporting, these figures are still likely to only represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hate crimes against LGBT people."

She added that the rise in hate crime against trans people "shows the consequences of a society where transphobia is everywhere".

Just under half (47%) of religious hate crime offences were targeted against Muslims (3,530 offences), a similar proportion to last year.

A further 18% religious hate crime offences were targeted against Jewish people (1,326 offences).

There were spikes in religious and race hate crime in May, June and July 2018.

In May 2018 former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson was sentenced to his first jail term, sparking a series of protests, while in July US President Donald Trump visited the UK.

There was also a spike in March 2019, the month of the gun attacks at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The figures showed racially or religiously aggravated offences were more likely to be dealt with by a charge or summons than their non-aggravated counterparts, which the Home Office said reflected "the serious nature" of these offences.

More on this story