Police record surge in hate crimes after series of terrorist attacks

Lester Mason
October 17, 2018

While the rise in hate crimes motivated by religion was the most dramatic, the Home Office also recorded significant upticks in crimes motivated by bias involving gender identity, disability and sexual orientation.

The number of hate crimes according to police figures has more than doubled since 2012/13 from 42,255 to 94,098.

It says the "increase is thought to be largely driven by improvements in police recording, although there has been spikes in hate crime following certain events such as the EU Referendum and the terrorist attacks in 2017".

In the 2017/18 period evaluated by the UK Home Office using police data, 12% of all religious hate crime was directed at Jews in England and Wales, while the total number of Jews amounts to a mere 0.5% of all the total population.

Hate crimes only need to be "perceived" by the alleged victim or a witness and, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), no evidence is needed to log them in police records.

Findings from the separate Crime Survey for England and Wales, which tracks the public's experience of crime, suggest a drop of 40% in hate crime incidents in the past decade. The Home Office started requiring police officers to collect this information in 2017, realizing that a victim's perceived and actual religion may not always be the same.

Just over three-quarters of those reported incidents - a total of 71,251 - were classified as "race hate".

It is possible for a hate crime offence to have more than one motivating factor, which is why the numbers sum to more than 94,098 - and the percentages to more than 100.

Hate crime data are supplied to the Home Office by the 43 territorial police forces of England and Wales, plus the British Transport Police. They stress that this is the first set of statistics and - as such - is experimental, adding that it will be improved in the future. While this is fully understood in Northern Ireland, it goes less noticed in the United Kingdom, despite the fact that it does happen.

The figures were revealed as the Home Office announced a review into whether offences motivated by misandry - prejudice against men - should be classed as hate crimes.

It also said tougher sentences were handed down in two-thirds of cases after prosecutors highlighted aggravating factors to judges.

It's now emerged that the same review will also consider hostility towards men.

The new figures come as the government asks the Law Commission to "consider if there should be additional protected characteristics, such as "misogyny and age" as well as "alternative" cultures such as "Goths".

Harun Khan, secretary general of the umbrella group Muslim Council of Britain, said that the new figures should prompt the government to take meaningful action against Islamophobic attacks. Based on data voluntarily submitted by about 15,000 law enforcement agencies in the USA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation documented 6,121 hate crime incidents in 2016, up 5 percent from the previous year.

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