European embassies in UK log rise in hate crimes post-Brexit
London, Sep 19: European embassies in the UK have logged a rising number of alleged hate crimes against their citizens since the Brexit vote on June 23.
According to figures obtained by the 'Guardian newspaper as part of a survey, the vast majority of xenophobic incidents involved citizens from eastern European countries, with more attacks against Poles than all the other nationalities put together.
The Polish consular service in London, Manchester and Edinburgh has logged 31 incidents of reported hate crime since June 23, when Britain voted to leave the European Union (EU).
"The Polish community is the largest national minority in the UK and, due to its visibility, may be statistically an easier target of xenophobic abuse," said Arkady Rzegocki, the Polish ambassador to the UK.
"We recognise and appreciate the show of solidarity from the British public and the decisive steps taken by the British government and local authorities to resolve the problem. We need to work together to foster dialogue and mutual understanding between communities," he said.
The newspaper had contacted the London embassies of all 27 EU member states. Of the 17 embassies that replied, almost half reported a rise in incidents of xenophobic abuse in the 12 weeks since the EU referendum, it said.
The embassies of western European countries that responded to the survey, including Spain, France and Germany, reported no post-referendum abuse against their citizens.
The issue of hate crime in the wake of the vote was also raised by London-based diplomats at a working lunch of a Nordic group of ambassadors last week.
Latvian ambassador Baiba Braze, who hosted the lunch, said: "It is a trend that we discussed. Our citizens have not experienced anything like this before the referendum."
Official police statistics released earlier this month also indicated a continued rise in post-Brexit hate crimes.
The latest set of figures released by the UK's National Police Chiefs' Council showed a 49 per cent rise in incidents to 1,863 in the last week in July, when compared with the previous year. The week after saw a record 58 per cent increase in logged incidents to 1,787.