Hate crimes surge in UK
London, Oct 15: Muslims and Jews were among the religious groups most targeted in the UK in 2018-19 as the country registered a 10 per cent spike in hate crimes over the previous year, according to official government data released on Tuesday.
The UK Home Office data found that there were a record 103,379 hate crime offences in 2018-19, which is an increase of 10 per cent compared to 94,121 in 2017-18 and more than double from 42,255 since 2012-13. While the majority of hate crimes recorded by police forces in England and Wales were racial in nature (78,991), religious hate crimes also marked an increased over the past year.
“Just under half (47 per cent) of religious hate crime offences were targeted against Muslims (3,530 offences), a similar proportion to last year. A further 18 per cent religious hate crime offences were targeted against Jewish people (1,326 offences),” the Home Office data notes.
Hate crime is defined as an offence which the victim or any other person considers to be driven by hostility towards their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.
It can include verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, assault and bullying, as well as damage to property. Over half (54 per cent) of the hate crimes recorded by the police were for public order offences and a further third (36 per cent) were for violence against the person offences. Five per cent were recorded as criminal damage and arson offences. Transgender hate crime went up significantly by 37 per cent to 2,333 and for crimes involving a victim's sexual orientation, the rise was 25 per cent to 14,491 and for disability 14 per cent to 8,256.
“Around 12 per cent of hate crime offences in 2018-19 were estimated to have involved more than one motivating factor, the majority of these were hate crimes related to both race and religion,” the Home Office said.
It is believed that the increases in hate crime over the last five years have been mainly driven by improvements in crime recording by police forces across England and Wales, with particular spikes noted in the wake of certain divisive events such as the European Union (EU) Referendum in favour of Brexit in June 2016 and terrorist attacks in 2017.
The recorded figures show racially or religiously aggravated offences are more likely to be dealt with by a charge or court summons, which the government said reflects "the serious nature" of these offences.
It also pointed to an improved data collection system called the Home Office Data Hub, which is designed to streamline the process by which police forces submit hate crime data. The Data Hub replaces the old system by capturing record level crime data via direct extracts from forces' own crime recording systems.
This allows the police to provide more detailed information to the Home Office enabling a greater range of analyses to be carried out.