LONDON: Hate crime driven by considerations of race, religion or disability shot up to nearly 80,400 incidents in the United Kingdom in the year ending March 2017, the period that saw one terror attack and the aftermath of the 2016 EU referendum, figures released on Tuesday show.
The report included crime recorded by the police forces after the March 22 terror attack on Westminster Bridge in London, the home office said. Provisional figures show the number rose further after the terror attacks in Manchester, London Bridge and Finsbury Park.
“Although improvement in police recording has continued to be a factor over the last year, part of the increase since 2015/16 is due to a genuine increase in hate crime, particularly around the time of the EU referendum in June 2016,” the home office report said.
“There was also an increase in hate crime following the Westminster bridge terrorist attack on 22 March 2017,” it added.
Focussing on hate crime recorded after the EU referendum, the analysis said when the result was announced on June 24, “there was a clear spike in hate crime…The increase in hate crime can be seen by using racially or religiously aggravated offence data”.
It added: “There was an increase in these offences from April 2016, which reached a peak in July 2016. The number of aggravated offences recorded then declined in August 2016, but remained at a higher level than prior to the EU referendum.
“These increases fit the widely reported pattern of an increase in hate crime following the EU referendum, with the level of these offences being 44% higher in July 2016 compared with the previous July.”
Victims of hate crime included EU nationals from Poland and other countries after the vote to leave the EU, driven mainly by concerns over immigration from within the 28-nation bloc. The issue remains on top of the agenda in Brexit-related talks in Brussels.__Hindustan Times