Trump accused of ‘fearmongering’ over ‘Islamic terror’ link to UK crime rise
Mr Trump’s interpretation of the statistics, which include offences ranging from burglary to fraud, has provoked criticism.
Donald Trump has been accused of ignorance after controversially linking an increase in recorded crime with the “spread of radical Islamic terror” in the UK.
Official figures, published on Thursday, show police forces in England and Wales had registered a total of 5.2 million offences in the year to June – a 13% rise on the previous 12 months.
The data release prompted the US President to tweet: “Just out report: ‘United Kingdom crime rises 13% annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror.’ Not good, we must keep America safe!”
Just out report: "United Kingdom crime rises 13% annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror." Not good, we must keep America safe!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2017
But Mr Trump’s interpretation of the statistics, which include offences ranging from burglary to fraud, has provoked criticism.
Labour MP Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the Home Affairs Committee, tweeted: “Hate crime in UK up 29% – sadly encouraged by ignorant tweets like this. Not good POTUS.”
Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party, retweeted Mr Trump’s post, adding: “OK @theresa_may, this is a test. Will you publicly condemn this outright fearmongering?”
Hate crime in UK up 29% - sadly encouraged by ignorant tweets like this. Not good POTUS https://t.co/MATvVAz48q— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) October 20, 2017
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) report stated: “The 13% increase in police recorded crime from previous year, reflects a range of factors including continuing improvements to crime recording and genuine increases in some crime categories, especially those that are well-recorded.”
The figures cover England and Wales, but not the whole of the UK as Mr Trump incorrectly asserted, and of the 664 homicides reported – down 2% on the previous year – 35 were related to the London Bridge, Westminster and Manchester terror attacks.
There was a 59% rise in the number of attempted murder offences, with 1,147 recorded last year, according to the report. The ONS said the rise was largely due to the London and Manchester terror attacks, where police recorded 294 attempted murders.
The latest statistics relating to hate crime were published in a Home Office report earlier this week.
In 2016/17 police recorded 80,393 offences where hate was deemed to be a motivating factor, compared with 62,518 in 2015/16, it said.
Mr Trump has previously sparked controversy with comments about extremism in Britain.
He prompted outrage while running for president by claiming the UK had a “massive Muslim problem” and stating that parts of London were “so radicalised” that police were “afraid for their own lives”.
David Cameron, who was then prime minister, described the comments as “divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong”.
Ms Cooper said in a statement: “Hate crime in the UK has gone up by almost 30% and rubbish like this tweet from Donald Trump is designed to provoke even more of it.
“It is appalling that we have reached the point where inflammatory and ignorant statements from the President of the United States are now seen as normal.
“If we are to properly tackle hate crime and every other crime, we have to challenge this kind of nonsense.”
Spreading lies about your own country: sad. Spreading lies about others: sadder. What an absolute moron. https://t.co/0EACPcX9xR— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) October 20, 2017
Labour MP Wes Streeting also voiced concern, tweeting: “Please tell me again why we’re rolling the red carpet out for this imbecile, @theresa_may?”
Former Labour leader Ed Miliband called Mr Trump an “absolute moron”.
He tweeted: “Spreading lies about your own country: sad. Spreading lies about others: sadder. What an absolute moron.”