Scotland

Rise in 'white British' racism incidents in Scotland

Police

White British people have become the most common ethnic group to be targeted in racist incidents in Scotland, according to new figures.

There was a rise of almost 4% of racist incidents in 2013/14, with much of that increase due to cases involving white people.

Police Scotland recorded a total of 4,807 such incidents, involving 5,626 people - up 3.9% on the previous year.

This was the third lowest total in the past 10 years.

The figures, which were published by Scotland's chief statistician, showed that 1,423 "white British" people were the victims of racist incidents or came forward to report them - an increase of 284 from the 2012/13 total of 1,139.

There was a drop in attacks on Pakistanis, with 1,107 reporting they were the victim of racist behaviour, down from 1,115 in 2012/13.

Lowest levels

However, proportionately, those with a Pakistani ethnic background were the most likely to be the victim or complainer of a racist incident recorded by the police, with 224 victims or complainers per 10,000 population.

This compared with three "'white British" victims or complainers per 10,000 population.

Overall, 27.2% of victims came from a "white British" ethnic background - which includes "white Scottish" and "white English" - with 21.2% coming from a Pakistani background.

A total of 14% of victims were classed as "other white" - including "white Polish" and "white Irish" - and 13.1% were African, Caribbean or another black ethnic background.

Community Safety Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: "While it is encouraging that the number of incidents involving members of the Pakistani community are now at their lowest levels in a decade, the overall increase in reported racist incidents more generally shows us that more work still needs to be done.

"Where we can dig deeper into the statistics, we can see that many reports are from Scots who are classed as 'white British'.

"The fact this mirrors the demographic make-up of Scotland means it may well be down to more witnesses coming forward, which is to be welcomed."

Police recorded 5,520 crimes resulting from racist incidents - a 5.6% increase on the previous year - with some incidents involving more than one crime being reported.

Of all the incidents that were reported to the police, 94.7% resulted in at least one crime being recorded, with a 77% clean-up rate for these offences.

'Hatred and intolerance'

Mr Wheelhouse said: "The fact that so many of these incidents resulted in at least one crime being reported, and that over three-quarters of these have been solved, also shows just how seriously the police take any reports of racial discrimination and I would like to pay tribute to their efforts and strong leadership in this area.

"This government is sending a strong message that racism in any form is simply unacceptable and there is no place for it in 21st Century Scotland.

"Whether you're a victim, or you are someone who witnesses unacceptable behaviour, be assured that the police or the authorities will take your report seriously and action will be taken."

Ch Supt Paul Main, lead officer for safer communities in Police Scotland, said: "One incident where hatred and intolerance is a motivating factor is one too many.

"Police Scotland continues to work closely with our communities and other partners across the criminal justice spectrum to ensure those who are the victims of such incidents have the confidence to come forward and report their experiences to us."

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