Hate crimes rise to highest ever levels following Brexit
New figures show record levels of hate crimes following the EU referendum.
Almost every police force in the country has reported a rise in hate crimes.
The new figures give the first complete picture of hate crimes for the three months ending September, after Britain voted to leave the EU.
33 out of 44 forces recorded the highest quarterly number of hate crimes since comparable records began in April 2012.
The new figures represent a 41% rise in hate crimes compared to the same period in 2015, with more than 14.000 incidents.
Now Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) chair David Isaac has warned there could be more increases to come, telling Sky News that police “must be sensible to prepare for any possible spikes” in hate crime once Brexit talks begin.
Of the 36 police force area with a majority of people voting to leave, 34 saw a rise in hate crimes.
The area with the biggest Leave vote, Lincolnshire, saw hate crimes jump by 59%.
Meanwhile three forces recorded more than 1,000 hate crimes – the Metropolitan Police in London (3,356), Greater Manchester (1,033) and West Yorkshire (1,013).
EHRC boss David Isaac said: “The vast majority of people who voted to leave the European Union did so because they believed it was best for Britain and not because they are intolerant of others,” he said.
“It is clear, however, that a small minority of people used the Brexit vote to legitimise inexcusable racism and prejudice.
“We cannot allow such intolerable acts of hate to be condoned or repeated.
“The triggering of Article 50 is the next major milestone and we must do all we can to discourage hate attacks and to support people who feel at risk.”
Research by Galop in 2016 found that four in five LGBT people had experienced hate crime.
A quarter had experienced violent hate crime, a third experienced online hate crime and a tenth experienced sexual violence as part of a hate crime.
A quarter of those surveyed said they would not report in future, mostly due to the fear it would not be taken seriously.