Reported hate crimes soar 10% to record high
There has been a surge in the number of attacks reported to be motivated by sexual orientation and transgender identity.
Hate crimes hit a record high in the last year, with a surge in the number of reported offences triggered by sexual orientation and transgender identity, official figures show.
Police in England and Wales recorded 103,379 hate crimes in 2018/19 – 10% more than the previous year and more than double the 2012/13 figure of 42,255.
Part of the increase could reflect a “real rise” in reports of crime, the Home Office said.
Race remained the main trigger in the majority of reported offences at 76% of the total, an 11% rise in the last year from 71,264 to 78,991.
But there were also jumps in the number of transgender identity hate crimes – up by 37% in the last year from 1,703 to 2,333 – and a 25% hike in offences motivated by sexual orientation (14,491, up from 11,592).
Disability hate crimes rose by 14% from 7,221 to 8,256; and offences triggered by religion rose by 3% from 8,339 to 8,566, the data showed.
The increases are partly due to improvements in the way crimes are recorded, but there were spikes seen after events such as the EU referendum and the terrorist attacks in 2017, as well as a rise in reports in the summer of 2018 and January this year.
More than half (54%) of the hate crimes recorded by the police were for public order offences, a third (36%) involved violence, while 5% were recorded as criminal damage and arson.
Around 12% of the offences were estimated to have more than one motivation, with the majority of these being both race and religion.
Laura Russell, a director at the charity Stonewall, said: “As worrying statistics like this demonstrate, lesbian, gay, bi and trans people still face hatred simply because of who they are.
“While it is possible that the increase is due to higher confidence in reporting, these figures are still likely to only represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hate crimes against LGBT people.
“The significant rise in hate crimes against trans people shows the consequences of a society where transphobia is everywhere.
“We are still not living in a society where every LGBT person is free to be themselves and live without fear of discrimination and abuse.”
The figures prompted charity bosses and faith leaders to call for urgent action to be taken on hate crime, claiming research suggests that levels of the offence are far higher than those recorded in official data.
Citizens UK said its demand for change has been supported by 18 rabbis, bishops and imams, as well as chief executives from Stonewall, the Muslim Council of Britain and the Fawcett Society.
The group also wants to see misogyny clearly defined as a hate crime on a national scale in a bid to tackle “widespread harassment and violence against women and girls”.
An academic study by Dr Farhan Samanani, of The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, commissioned by Citizens UK, indicated that the majority of people who took part – seven out of 10 of 1,031 respondents – had never reported a hate crime to the police.
Hate crimes are defined as those perceived to be motivated by hostility or prejudice of a characteristic.
Five strands are monitored nationally: race or ethnicity; religion or beliefs; sexual orientation; disability; and transgender identity.
But some police forces log other types of hostility under hate crime, including reports of misogyny and incidents where victims were targeted because of their age or membership of an “alternative sub-culture”, such as goths.