Hate crimes in South Yorkshire rose by quarter last year with over 1,900 aggravated incidents

The number of recorded hate crimes in South Yorkshire rose by nearly a quarter in 2021.

Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 5:42 am

New data shows the number of religiously and racially aggravated incidents, including assault and harassment, jumped in 2021.

South Yorkshire Police recorded 1,953 incidents last year compared to 1,572 in 2020 – a rise of over 300 offences, or 24 per cent.

SYP has been contacted for a comment.

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Several police forces across the UK linked the spike in cases to ‘national events’, such as the Euros football championships in 2021.

According to the Home Office, “these racially or religiously aggravated offences are by definition hate crimes”.

They included racially or religiously aggravated incidents of assault with injury, assault without injury, harassment, criminal damage and public fear, alarm or distress.

In an analysis of the 44 forces in England and Wales, 39 reported a rise in racially and religiously aggravated offences from 2020 to 2021, while 34 forces saw numbers last year reach a new high.

Diana Fawcett, chief executive at the independent charity Victim Support, said: “This trend is seriously concerning – no person or community should be targeted because of who they are.

“Sadly, these figures reflect what we’re seeing at Victim Support. Last year we recorded an 11 per cent increase in hate crime, with abuse based on race and religion accounting for 71 per cent of all cases.

“We consistently see spikes in hate crime linked to world events – for example, following the Euros finals last summer – so this could be one reason for the rise.

“We also know that hate crime is often under reported, so it’s crucial that people know there is free and independent support available and can visit Victim Support for more information.”

The Metropolitan Police recorded the highest number of racially and religiously aggravated offences of any police force in England and Wales in 2021, with 15,394 incidents recorded in 2021, up two per cent from 2020.

Meanwhile, West Yorkshire Police recorded the fourth highest number of racially and religiously aggravated offences in 2021, with a rise of 15 per cent up to 1,554.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for hate crime, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, said: “Everyone has the right to live their lives without fear of being attacked for who they are, either physically or verbally.

“Being subjected to a hate crime, whether in person or online, can be devastating to an individual’s mental health, their online security, and in some cases their personal safety. It is completely unacceptable and police will take, and do take, all reports of hate crime seriously, and we will do everything we can to investigate.

“We will always pursue action against perpetrators of hate crime where there is the evidence to do so. The public will understand that we must prioritise our finite resources towards those who face the most imminent threats of harm.

“We strongly encourage anyone who thinks they may have experienced any hate crime to report it to the police. Our officers are highly trained, will treat everyone with respect and dignity and handle cases sensitively. We ask that victims come to us as soon as possible after an offence has been committed so we can begin our investigation as early as possible.”