Rise in hate crime incidents across County Durham

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The number of reported hate crimes during 2021/22 increased by 26% on the year before in County Durham, according to new figures released by the Home Office. 

Of these, hate crimes related to race made up the largest number of reported crimes in County Durham at 67% of the total, which is in line with national trends. There were also a significant proportion of hate crimes related to religion, with Muslims (42%) and Jews (23%) being the second and third most targeted groups for hate crimes. 

Reports of transgender offences, while the smallest category, have increased the most rapidly, with hate crimes towards these groups more than doubling from the previous year. They are also among the least likely to result in successful police action, with only 2-3% of hate crimes reported in the “disability” and “transgender” categories resulting in a charge or a summons nationally.

The Home Office attempted to explain the rise in hate crimes towards transgender people, with a spokesperson stating that transgender issues have been “heavily discussed on social media over the last year,” which may have contributed to the rise.

Hate crimes are defined as being “motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic.” The government lists these personal characteristics as race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender.

“Hate crime is a scourge on communities across the country”

Home office spokesperson

The Home Office cast doubt on the importance of its own statistics, saying that “significant improvements in police recorded crime” meant that it was “uncertain to what degree the increase in police record hate crime is a genuine rise,” or if it was instead due to “more victims having the confidence to report these crimes.”

Nonetheless, a Home Office spokesperson said that “hate crime is a scourge on communities across the country. It does not reflect the values of modern Britain. We expect the police to fully investigate these hateful attacks and make sure the cowards who commit them feel the full force of the law.”

On social media, Durham Constabulary posted as part of its Hate Crime Awareness Week campaign that “over the summer, we achieved a 90 per cent conviction rate for hate crime offences. We saw a twelve per cent increase in reporting, however, we’re not there yet, we know that around 50 per cent of hate crimes go unreported.”

As well as reporting directly to the local police, students and staff at Durham University who are victims of these crimes can report them directly to the University as part of its ‘Report+Support’ policy introduced in 2019. They also have the option to do this anonymously.

Image: Adam via Wikimedia Commons

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