Brexit vote linked to rise in racist hate crimes in Derbyshire

Police have seen a rise in the number of racist hate crime incidents. Photo: Marisa Cashill
Police have seen a rise in the number of racist hate crime incidents. Photo: Marisa Cashill

Derbyshire Police are having to deal with more hate crimes, with the majority racist incidents, Home Office figures show.

The latest Home Office data shows that in the 2016-17 financial year, 599 cases were reported to police, up from 537 the year before.

And the vast majority of those, 469 in total, were racist abuse or attacks.

Across the whole of England and Wales there was a 27 per cent increase in racist hate crime over that period, with the Home Office saying there was a spike ‘around the time of the EU Referendum’.

Rose Simkins, chief executive of Stop Hate UK, said it was ‘now an indisputable fact’ that racist incidents have risen since the Brexit vote.

She explained: “Our own figures, from the period 2016-17 also support this trend where, after several years of disability being the biggest motivating factor, there was a clear shift towards race being the biggest factor.”

However, Ms Simkins said she was concerned hate crime could still be being under reported.

She continued: “We firmly believe, however, that whilst there has been an improvement in the recording and reporting of incidents there is still a big disparity between the number of incidents that take place, versus those that are actually reported and properly recorded.

“We still do not know the true picture of the number of incidents that take place on a daily basis.

“We need many more resources to help close the disparity between the number of incidents happening to those reported, and to increase public confidence that an incident, or perceived incident, is worth reporting in the first place.”

The figures show a rise in Islamophobic and anti-Semitic hate crime, where religion was a motivating factor.

Derbyshire Police recorded 33 cases in 2016-17, 20 more than the previous year.

Incidents where disability is the motivating factor have risen, from 21 in 2015-16 to 40 in the latest figures.

Phil Talbot, from disability charity Scope, encouraged victims to report incidents to the police.

He said: “It’s alarming that thousands of disabled people across the country are being targeted in this way because of their impairment or condition.

“We encourage everyone to report these despicable crimes to the authorities, so those responsible can be caught and prosecuted.”