Police-recorded hate crimes rise 26 per cent in a year

The number of hate crimes recorded by police in England and Wales has risen by more than a quarter in a year, figures show.

Oct 6, 2022
By PA Media
Police-recorded hate crimes in England and Wales. PA Graphic. Source Home Office. Figure for 2019/20 not included due to missing data.

There were 155,841 offences recorded in the year to March, up 26 per cent from the previous year. This was also the biggest annual rise since 2017, according to Home Office data.

Forces recorded 109,843 race hate crimes, 8,730 religious hate crimes, 26,152 sexual orientation hate crimes, 14,242 disability hate crimes and 4,355 transgender hate crimes.

Some crimes are recorded as having more than one motivating factor.

The majority of hate crimes recorded by police were racially motivated – in line with previous years – and increased by 19 per cent from the year ending 2021, the figures show.

It is the first time the number of racially motivated hate crimes recorded over a year has topped 100,000.

Religious hate crimes rose by 37 per cent to reach the highest level since records began in 2012.

Sexual orientation hate crimes increased by 41 per cent, disability hate crimes by 43 per cent, and transgender identity hate crimes by 56 per cent.

Fewer hate crimes motivated by transgender identity were recorded compared with all other motivations, but this group saw the biggest percentage rise.

The Home Office said transgender issues have been “heavily discussed on social media” over the past year, which may have led to an increase in related hate crimes.

Its report, published on Thursday, said: “It is uncertain to what degree the increase in police-recorded hate crime is a genuine rise or due to continued recording improvements and more victims having the confidence to report these crimes to the police.”

The rise in the latest year was partly due to the “suppressant effect” of public health restrictions in place during the pandemic, when lower levels of crime were recorded, it added.

Triggers for short-term, genuine rises in recent years include the EU referendum in June 2016, terror attacks in 2017, and the Black Lives Matter protests and far-right counter-protests in summer 2020.

Previous analysis by the PA news agency also suggests that England’s defeat at the Euro football championships in July 2021 is likely to have contributed to a rise in racially and religiously aggravated offences, as did the easing of coronavirus restrictions.

A separate Freedom of Information request by PA revealed that homophobic and transphobic hate crime recorded by police in the UK rose sharply between May and August 2021 after lockdown restrictions were eased.

According to analysis of figures submitted by 26 forces to the Home Office,nine per cent of hate crime flagged offences had been dealt with by a charge or summons, slightly below ten per cent in year ending March 2021.

Seven per cent of violence against the person offences, flagged as hate crimes, were dealt with by a charge or summons, as were five per cent of criminal damage and arson hate crime flagged offences.

One in ten public order offences flagged as hate crimes were dealt with by a charge or summons.

The Home Office said the most common outcome for violent offences was “evidential difficulties as the victim does not support action” (30 per cent).

Data from all police forces shows that eight per cent of racially or religiously aggravated offences recorded by police resulted in a charge and or summons in the year ending March 2022.

This is down from 12 per cent in the previous year.

The Home Office said that evidence suggests a greater proportion of recorded crimes in recent years were for types of offence “which can be more challenging to investigate”.

Association of Police and Crime Commissioners lead for equality, diversity and human rights, Alison Lowe OBE, said: “These figures are shocking and represent the greatest increase in recorded hate crimes since 2017.

“Diversity is something that should be celebrated, and we must send a clear message to those who target people for who they are that their behaviour and actions will not be tolerated.

“Whilst a proportion of this increase may be down to better recording of hate crime or due to increased confidence in reporting, we cannot use this as a get out clause for not addressing these stark figures and taking action. As national lead I will be taking this issue forward with partners so that we can ensure victims have confidence in the system.

“As police and crime commissioners and deputy mayors, we will continue to hold chief constables to account for their response and investigation of hate crime so that everybody, no matter who they are, can live in a society where they feel safe.”

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