Belfast Telegraph

Police reveal significant increase in racist hate crime in Northern Ireland

By Adrian Rutherford

Police have said there has been a significant increase in racist hate crime in the last year in Northern Ireland.

In 2013 there were 307 reported racist hate crimes in Belfast.

However, this had increased to 476 in last year.

Of these, 88 of these were on members of the Polish community.

Speaking at a lunchtime press conference ​in Belfast, Polish consul Jerome Mullen said there was growing alarm at the spate of attacks.

"It is a very serious situation that we are all facing," he said.

"The Government of Poland are very concerned at the escalation of attacks on Polish citizens coming to live here."

Mr Mullen said people had come to Northern Ireland to work hard and make a living for their families.

"To find themselves now at the centre of this recent escalation of attacks on their homes is an appalling situation which has to be stopped," he added.

Mr Mullen said he hoped to meet some of those affected by recent attacks tonight.

He said a greater effort was needed from government and politicians to tackle the issue.

"I'm not sure satisfied that sufficient efforts have been made in relation to dealing with the whole issue of racism and race crime."

Police said race crime across Northern Ireland has risen by 31% in the last year.

ACC Martin said: "It is a blight on our community in Northern Ireland that we are treating people who come here to contribute in such an awful and terrible way."

ACC Martin revealed the PSNI had also received reports of an Asian man being verbally abused in Belfast last night.

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