More incidents of racist hate crime reported in Derbyshire

Derbyshire Police are having to deal with more hate crime, which is mostly racist incidents, figures show.

Thursday, 18th October 2018, 11:01 am
File photo dated 21/03/17 of graffiti on a wall in Bristol. Churches, mosques, temples and gurdwaras can bid for a share of £1 million of Government funding to help protect against hate crimes.

The latest Home Office data shows that between April 2017 and March 2018, 673 cases were reported to police, up from 599 the year before.

And the vast majority of those, 562 in total, were racist abuse or attacks.

Additionally there were 31 cases of religious hate crime.

Across England and Wales the number of religious hate crimes reported increased by 40% over the last year.

While the police force figures do not break down crimes by religion, across England and Wales more than half of the hate crime reported was against Muslims.

The Home Office report explains there were spikes in Islamophobic hate crime after recent terrorist attacks.

The time period includes the Manchester Arena terror attack and the London Bridge attack.

On March 22 2017, just before the start of the latest 12 months recorded, five people also died in a terror attack outside Parliament.

Fiyaz Mughal, founder of Tell Mama, a project which measures anti-Muslim attacks, said he was “not surprised” by the increase.

“There has been a perfect storm of the political mainstreaming of Islamophobia, terrorist attacks, the rise of the far right and abuse that’s allowed on social media.

“Social media companies have come a long way, however they need to get quicker at banning people who post anti-Muslim content.

Mr Mughal believes the key is educating children from an early age to be tolerant to other religions.

“According to our data, the most common age group of people committing Islamophobic hate crime are aged 13 to 18. This is why working with teachers and schools is so important.”

In Derbyshire, the total number of recorded hate crime incidents has increased by 32% over the last five years.

This is partly because of improvements in the way crimes are recorded but there have been spikes after events such as the Brexit referendum and the terrorist attacks.

Hate crimes and incidents are defined as those perceived to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a personal characteristic.

Five strands are monitored centrally: race or ethnicity; religion or beliefs; sexual orientation; disability; and transgender identity.

The number of incidents where disability was a motivating factor, dropped from 40 to 20.

Ahead of the release of the statistics, the Government published a refreshed strategy for tackling hate crime.

The Law Commission will carry out a review to explore how to make current legislation more effective and consider if there should be additional “protected characteristics” to cover offences motivated by, or demonstrating, hatred based on sex and gender characteristics, or hatred of older people.

In another step outlined in the blueprint, taxi drivers and door staff will be given guidance on spotting hate crime.