Hate Crime Surged in England, Wales after Terrorist Attacks

News ID: 1548789 Service: Other Media
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TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A sustained four-month spike in hate crime after this year’s terrorist attacks peaked at a higher level than that following last year’s EU referendum, according to Britain's Home Office figures.

Hate crime offences recorded by the police rose by a record 29% to 80,393 incidents in the 12 months to March 2017, according to Home Office figures published on Tuesday, The Guardian reported.

The Home Office said the figures showed a spike in hate crime in England and Wales following the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack on 22 March as well as in the aftermath of the referendum in June 2016.

Provisional police figures show that the number of crimes, which increased after the Westminster Bridge attack, continued to climb until June as the Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Finsbury Park attacks followed.

The number of hate crime incidents recorded by the police reached a record monthly level of 6,000 incidents in June. This peak was higher than the previous monthly peak of 5,500 in July 2016 seen in the aftermath of the EU referendum.

The 29% increase in the annual figure is the largest rise since the official hate crime figures started to be published five years ago. Home Office statisticians said the increase was thought to reflect both a genuine rise in hate crime and ongoing improvements in crime recording by the police.

Race was deemed to be a motivating factor in nearly 80% of recorded hate crime incidents – 62,685 incidents. Sexual orientation was a factor in 9,157 or 11% of incidents, with religious hate crime accounting for 5,940 or 7%.

A further 5,558 or 78% were recorded as disability hate crimes and 1,248 or 2% were deemed to be motivated by transgender hate. The Home Office said the proportions summed to more than 100% as it was possible for a hate crime offence to have more than one motivating factor.

Analysis of provisional daily data supplied by 38 police forces to the Home Office national data hub between April 2016 and August 2017 showed a spike in daily hate crime after the Greater Manchester attack on 22 May.

“The level of offences decreased in the following days, but again increased with the London Bridge and Borough Market attacks on the 3 June 2017. This pattern is again repeated with the Finsbury Park attack on the 19 June 2017,” reports the Home Office bulletin.

Figures tracking the outcome of the 80,393 offences recorded to the police in 2016-17 show that only 16% of “flagged” offences led to somebody being charged or summonsed for the incident.

The shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, said the rise in hate crime was unacceptable, especially after a drop in the number of police referrals has seen a fall in prosecutions.

“The Tories have made great claims about tackling burning injustices. But they are clearly not tackling the great injustice of being attacked simply because of your religion, your sexuality, the color of your skin or your disability,” she said.

The home secretary, Amber Rudd, agreed there was “absolutely no place” for hate crime in Britain but said the government was taking action to tackle it. She said: “I am heartened that more victims are more confident to come forward and report incidents of hate crime, and that police identification and recording of all crime is improving.

“But no one in Britain should have to suffer violent prejudice, and indications that there was a genuine rise in the number of offences immediately following each of this year’s terror attacks is undoubtedly concerning.”

The Home Office said it was spending £2.4m on protecting places of worship, a further £1m for vulnerable faith institutions and £900,000 to support community projects.

The Crown Prosecution Service published data on Tuesday showing record numbers of tougher hate crime sentences being passed by the courts. Sentences in more than half of cases – 6,300 – involving hostility on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender activity increased because of this factor. However, the overall number of the number of hate crime prosecutions was down from 15,542 in 2015-16 to 14,480 in 2016-17, while the number of cases referred to prosecutors increased slightly from 12,997 to 13,086.

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