Published: Wed, October 17, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Hate crime linked to religion doubled in three years

Hate crime linked to religion doubled in three years

Jews in England and Wales are the single most targeted group for religiously motivated hate crime in those parts of the United Kingdom relative to the size of the Jewish population, new figures released by the British government on Tuesday have shown.

A statistical bulletin released by the UK Home Office on Tuesday, revealed a surge in hate crime offenses in England and Wales.

Religious hate crime in the 2017/18 period in total was up 40% from the previous year, the Home Office report found with a total of 8,336 offenses.

Hate crime is defined as "any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic".

There were increases in every category, but this may partly reflect better reporting methods used by police - and a greater willingness on the part of victims to come forward, said BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw.

However, race is deemed to be a motivating factor in the bulk of cases, representing 71,251 incidents in the year to March, or 76 percent of recorded hate incidents.

It rose by 40%, from 5,949 last year to 8,336 this year, according to the Home Office data.

It is partly because of improvements in the way crimes are reported, but there have also been spikes of hate crime after events like the Brexit referendum and the terror attacks previous year. Jews were the next most commonly targeted group - at 12%.

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The Muslim Council of Britain repeated calls for meaningful and proactive Government action as new figures reveal a rise in Islamophobic hate crime.

According to the police figures, the number of hate crimes has more than doubled since 2012/13, when 42,255 were recorded.

"The Jewish community will continue to work in solidarity with Muslims and people of all faiths". The review will help determine if crimes motivated by ageism, bias against punk and goth subcultures, misogyny and misandry (prejudice against men) should be classified as hate crimes.

Lammy, a champion of the group, said: "The extent to which hate crimes have risen in recent years is shameful".

Some forces log other types of hostility under the hate crime heading, including reports of misogyny and incidents where victims were targeted due to their age or membership of an "alternative sub-culture", such as goths.

Worryingly, the number of closed prosecutions dropped by over 2 per cent from 14,480 in 2016/17 to 14,151 in 2017/18.

Yvette Cooper MP, chairwoman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: "Hate crimes can be devastating for victims, deeply divisive for communities and dangerously linked to extremism".

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