Data from the Home Office has confirmed a stark rise in hate crimes following the EU Referendum on June 23.
Religious hate crime has jumped by more than a third in 2015/2016. Racist hate crimes had rose by 15 per cent. Therefore, the number of racially or religiously aggravated offences recorded by the police in July 2016 was 41 per cent higher than in July 2015. But if we look closely at the figures, we see that the referendum result had a lasting impact on both strands of hate crime, and mirror, in some ways, the spike in incidents reported to Tell MAMA following the result.
In response to intense media interest following the Brexit vote, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), took the unusual step of requesting weekly returns from police forces in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, to measure hate crime figures in a more ‘timely’ manner. The NPCC ended their weekly collection of hate crime data in September after the numbers had declined in August.
Home Office data found that faith-based and racially aggravated hate crimes grew incrementally following the result. On the day of the referendum, 31 police forces nationwide had recorded 106 religiously or racially aggravated hate crimes. In under a week, that figure grew to 168. By June 29, faith-based or racially aggravated hate crimes totalled 174. On July 1, it jumped to 207 – a 95 per cent rise on the June 23 figure. Throughout July, the daily hate crime figure for both strands did not drop below the June 23 figure of 106. In August, hate crime incidents for both strands rarely fell below 100 daily incidents across the 31 police forces. Towards the end of August, however, the number of offences did eventually return to levels seen prior to the referendum.
Tell MAMA had warned in early July that “With the backdrop of the Brexit vote and the spike in racist incidents that seems to be emerging, the government should be under no illusions, things could quickly become extremely unpleasant for Britain’s minorities”.
Broadly speaking, half of all faith-based hate crimes in 2015/16 were public order offences. That creeps up to 59 per cent for racially aggravated offences. Assaults against individuals due to their faith and/or race remained stubbornly high. Thankfully, however, less than 10 per cent of assaults resulted in injury. But these figures demonstrate how such hate crime limit the mobility of Muslims in Britain. In terms of criminal justice outcomes, charge/summons for public order offences under a racial or religious crime flag (22 per cent) were higher than summons for non-aggravated equivalent offences.
In our 2015 annual report, we found that hotspots of anti-Muslim hate occur when Muslims use public and private transport networks, walk in public spaces of cities, and where they do their shopping. Muslim women are more likely to be attacked than men in most settings. The largest proportion of perpetrators are white males. This means that the largest proportion of incidents involves Muslim women, usually wearing Islamic clothing – be it the hijab, abaya or niqab. Verbal abuse from men often carries misogynistic, racist and Islamophobic overtones. 84 per cent of all incidents in London recorded by Tell MAMA and the MPS occurred within 200 metres of a bus stop and 48 per cent of all incidents occurred within 100 metres of a bus stop.
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