Crimes linked to race and religion rise in England and Wales

Date: 
October, 2020
Country: 
United Kingdom (England)

The number of racially or religiously aggravated offences in England and Wales rose in June and July, most likely linked to Black Lives Matters rallies and far-right counter-protests, the Home Office has said.

The number of offences recorded by police increased year on year by 34% in June to 6,697 and about 17% in July to 6,677, after declines between March and May, when the UK was under a coronavirus lockdown.

The Home Office said the increases were probably related to anti-racism protests and far-right counter-demonstrations after the death of George Floyd in the US.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes as he told them “I can’t breathe”. His death sparked a wave of protests across the world, including the UK.

Alex Raikes, the strategic director of Sari (Stand Against Racism & Inequality), a Bristol based charity, said: “Sari has seen a major impact on our work due to the killing of George Floyd, the rise in Black Lives Matter movement and consequent backlash by far-right and disgruntled community members.”

She added: “The George Floyd killing and Black Lives Matter movement have also led to a backlash on black individuals and families. For example, we have heard reports of racist incidents including remarks referring to George Floyd – ‘Why are you still breathing?’ – and a big increase in comments mocking the transatlantic slave trade or even advocate for it – ‘You should go back to the cotton fields.’

“This is extremely distressing to the children, individuals and families facing this appalling abuse.”

The same Home Office bulletin shows the number of hate crimes recorded by police rose by 8% in England and Wales in the year to 2020. There were 105,090 in 2019-20, compared with 97,446 in 2018-19.

Race hate crimes accounted for about 72% of offences and had risen by 6% since 2018-19, the figures reveal.

Religious hate crime fell by 5% to 6,822 offences, down from a peak of 7,203 the previous year, representing the first drop in religious hate crime since 2012-13.

Sexual orientation hate crime rose by 19% to 15,835 and transgender identity hate crime by 16% to 2,540, while disability hate crime increased by 9% to 8,469.

The Home Office report said: “These percentage increases are smaller than seen in recent years.”

More than half of the hate crimes (53%) recorded by police were for public order offences, with more than a third (38%) for violence against a person, while 5% were recorded as criminal damage and arson offences, the report said.

The report reveals that it takes more than five times as long for police to deal with a hate crime offence than a non-hate crime offence.

Police take on average four days to record an outcome – such as a charge or summons or no further action, for non-hate crime offences, compared with 25 days for hate crime offences.

Source: The Guardian