The shockingly low charge rate can be revealed after South Yorkshire Police responded to a Freedom of Information request asking for the number of hate crimes recorded in Sheffield since 2018, and how many of these resulted in a charge.
The data has been broken down by different types of prejudices to find out if the occurrence of specific hate crimes has changed in the past few years.
As of June 17, 2021, a total of 728 hate crimes had been recorded for the year to date.
Just 26 charges have been made in relation to those offences, which equates to 3.6% of the total recorded crimes.
Three quarters of the hate crimes are race related, with 546 such offences recorded so far this year.
Just over four per cent of race related hate crimes have resulted in a charge.
Almost 15 per cent of the recorded hate crimes relate to sexual orientation, accounting for 108 offences.
Of the hate crimes recorded, 67 relate to disability and 37 to religion.
Less than three per cent of hate crimes have resulted in a charge when it comes to offences relating to sexual orientation (2.8%), disability (2.98%) and religion (2.7%).
No transgender related hate crimes have resulted in a charge, though 11 incidents have so far been recorded this year.
There are also five hate crimes that have been categorised as ‘non strand’, none of which have resulted in a charge.
Although this data relates to the first half of 2021, a similar pattern can be seen for 2020.
Last year, just over 75 per cent of total recorded hate crimes related to race, and just under 15 per cent were associated with sexual orientation.
A total of 1,509 hate crimes were recorded in Sheffield in 2020 and 126 crimes resulted in a charge, which equates to 8.3%.
Charges over race-related hate crimes amounted to just over nine per cent (107 out of 1,141 crimes) of reported offences, and that figure was just over seven per cent for sexual orientation-related hate crimes (16 out of 219 crimes), slightly over five per cent for hate crimes associated with religion (four out of 78), a little over two percent for hate crimes in respect of disability (three out of 131), and 2.4% for transgender-related hate crimes (one out of 41).
Two crimes fell into the ‘non strand’ category in 2020 and did not result in charges.
In 2019, 124 out of 1,228 hate crimes resulted in a charge, and in 2018, 115 out of 1,122 hate crimes resulted in a charge, which equates to just over 10 percent for both years.
Race-related hate crimes accounted for 70.4% of the total hate crimes reported in 2019 and 72.9% in 2018.
Just over 12 percent of race-related hate crimes resulted in a charge in 2019 and almost 11 percent in 2018.
The increase in recorded hate crimes in Sheffield comes after city representatives described such incidents as “completely unacceptable”.
Following a racially motivated attack on a 19-year-old Chinese student at the end of April 2021, Jerry Cheung, managing director of New Era Development and community leader, initiated a hate crime campaign in light of the growing number of racially motivated attacks against Sheffield’s Chinese community.
Political leaders, the police, universities and community groups in Sheffield agreed to join forces to better tackle racially-motivated hate crimes in the city.
Jerry described South Yorkshire Police’s hate crime statistics as “much worse” as “underreporting is a major issue”.
He explained: “Lots of Chinese people in Sheffield experience it, but don’t report it. Sometimes they don’t know how, or it’s not serious enough for the police to pick up. Verbal abuse, shoving, all that should be reported.”
He told how “restaurant businesses get it everyday” and do not report incidents unless it is “necessary”, otherwise deeming it as “just normal”.
Jerry believes that if this keeps happening, the scale of the problem cannot be established.
The task force created as part of the campaign, is working toward making reporting of hate crimes easier.
One of the aims is for Sheffield Chinese Community Centre to become a third party reporting centre in a bid to pick up some of the unreported cases.
Jerry had hoped that Sheffield’s response to taking action against hate crimes would “be a lot quicker”.
Speaking about a recent incident in which another student was attacked, he said: “It will happen again. It’s a case of not if, but when.”
Although this incident did result in a charge, Jerry believes that the punishment did not fit the crime.
He said: “It didn’t reflect the magnitude of the attack.”
Racist stickers targeting various different communities have recently been found in Sheffield city centre, Nether Edge and Spital Hill.
It is not the first time that racist stickers have been found across the city. In 2020, two men were arrested for such offences.
The stickers are said to include a nonsensical list of xenophobic language, conspiracy theories, and provocative rhetorical questions.
South Yorkshire Police has been urged to investigate and log the stickers as hate incidents.
Martin Phipps, Green Party councillor for Sheffield City ward, tweeted this week: “Please report these to the police and remove them if you see them.
“There is no place for racism in Sheffield.”