Race hate crimes rising since Brexit vote: UK

Racially and religiously aggravated abuse incidents in the UK registered a 41 per cent jump in July, a month after the Brexit vote, according to new official statistics released today.

PTI| Updated: Oct 14, 2016, 00:26 AM IST

London: Racially and religiously aggravated abuse incidents in the UK registered a 41 per cent jump in July, a month after the Brexit vote, according to new official statistics released today.

The Home Office said while the figures registered a drop in August, they still remain at a higher level than before the UK's referendum on June 23 to leave the European Union (EU).

As many as 5,468 race hate crimes were registered in July this year, compared to 3,886 in July, 2015, according to figures released by the UK Home Office.

"The number of racially or religiously aggravated offences recorded by the police in July, 2016 was 41 per cent higher than in July, 2015. This level of increase in these offences broadly mirrors the increase in hate crime reported by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) over the summer," the Home Office statement said.

"There was an increase in the number of racially or religiously aggravated offences recorded in June, 2016, followed by an even sharper increase in July 2016. The number of offences declined in August but remained at a level higher than prior to the referendum," it added.

Hate crime is defined by police as "any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic".

UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "I am pleased to see government action is working and that more victims are finding the confidence to come forward to report these crimes. Our hate crime laws are among the best in the world, but we cannot be complacent," Rudd said.

UK police forces monitor hate crimes under five broad strands of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.

Overall, in 2015-2016, there were 62,518 offences recorded by the police in which one or more hate crime strands were deemed to be a motivating factor.

This was an increase of 19 per cent compared with the 52,465 hate crimes recorded in 2014/15.

Mark Hamilton, NPCC's lead on hate crime, said: "Nobody in this country should have to live their lives enduring fear, intimidation or - in a third of cases - violence because of who they are." 

"We are encouraged by the analysis that a large part of this increase is driven by better police reporting and support systems giving victims the confidence to speak up and get help," Hamilton said.