An investigation by the BBC has revealed that Racial and Religiously-motivated Hate Crime reporting has risen significantly in the last five years with figures in some force areas more than doubling over the period.
The figures clearly indicate that Hate Crime remains a significant issue within society in 2018, but also suggests an increased confidence in reporting, especially in recognition that this type of hate crime, as well as hate crime based on other aspects of an individual’s identity, has historically been under reported.
The highest increase in reported racially and religiously-motivated hate crime over the last five years has come in the Northumbria Police force area, where a 276% increase has been recorded. Reports of Racially and Religiously-motivated hate crime have risen by less than 4% in Leicestershire, but all force areas have seen an increase since 2013.
Speaking as the figures were released, James Kingett, North East Education Team Manager for Show Racism the Red Card said “Hate Crime has been a reality for lots of people in the UK for a long time, and the figures appear to provide evidence of specific areas of concern in certain areas.”
“It is essential that across society we continue to raise awareness of hate crime and its impacts, in order that we can protect targets and potential targets and challenge some of the ideas and attitudes that underpin hate crime, not just with regards to ethnicity and religion, but in all its forms.”
“It is also incredibly important that we recognise the work carried out by Police Forces, Local Authorities, Community Groups and other organisations to elevate discussions about hate crime and promote the importance of reporting hate crime over the last five years or more. If reports of certain types of hate crime are increasing then can be viewed positively; more people are recognising that they have been targets of hate crime and are being empowered to report it. It is widely recognised that hate crime has been vastly under reported historically, which has meant that individuals have not had access to support and justice, but also that an accurate picture of the extent of the issue has been difficult to evidence”.
“Particularly in the North East of England, some fantastic work has been done over the last five years by a wide variety of organisations, not least the Police forces of Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland, as well as their respective Police and Crime Commissioners, to provide clarity over what hate crime is, to support targets and potential targets, ease community concerns and educate about the impacts of hate crime. Show Racism the Red Card are proud to have been part of a number of initiatives but recognise along with our partners that there is still significant work to be done.”
Show Racism the Red Card also note the increase in instances of racially and religiously motivated hate crime where women are the targets or victims. This data correlates with anecdotal evidence about the likely targets of specific forms of hate crime which indicate that women are more likely to be the targets of Anti-Muslim hate and hate crime motivated by hostility and prejudice towards a person’s religious beliefs.
Once again it is important to recognise that the increase may also be suggestive of increased confidence to report incidents which may have previously gone under reported both by Muslim women and other witnesses.
Finally, with reference to the data which indicates that charges for racially and religiously motivated hate crime have decreased over the same reporting period, Show Racism the Red Card believe that whilst more work needs to be undertaken to inform individuals and society as a whole about the likely consequences of hate crime and the criminal justice process, education and other forms of restorative justice are essential components to an effective response to hate crime in all its forms.