Racist hate crimes increasing in Sheffield, says report

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Racist hate crimes have increased in Sheffield in the past year, a council report has said.

South Yorkshire Police has seen a 22 per cent increase in reported hate crimes in the last year, with a spike in incidents in July following vote to leave the European Union.

In the past two years, there have been 785 hate crimes in the city and a further 556 'hate incidents', which are classed as events where a person feels someone has acted towards them with prejudice but the actions fall short of being classed as a crime.

The report, by Adele Walker, partnership analyst and Julia Cayless, partnership and performance manager of the anti-social behaviour and community safety team at Sheffield Council, said there was has been average 55 hate crimes and incidents in Sheffield between September 2014 and August 2016.

It said that 81 per cent of hate crimes and hate incidents in Sheffield are racially-aggravated.

In July this year there were over 90 such incidents as reported increases in hate crimes were seen across the country in the wake of the referendum result on June 23.

The report said part of the reason for the rise was increased awareness of the issue and victims having greater confidence to report such matters to the police.

It said: "Hate crime is taken to mean any crime where the perpetrator’s prejudice against an identifiable group of people is a contributory factor in determining who is victimised. This is a broad and inclusive definition; a victim of hate crime does not have to be a member of a minority group, or someone who is considered to be a ‘vulnerable’ person.

"Anyone can be a victim of a hate crime.

"Hate crimes can include a range of threatening behaviour, assault, robbery, damage to property, harassment or inciting others to commit hate crimes."

It added: "Hate crime is gaining increasing precedence in national and local crime prevention priorities. Increasing awareness and responses to hate crime has resulted in an increase in reporting both nationally and locally.

"Over the last two years, there has been an upward trend in the volume of hate crime and hate incidents reported to South Yorkshire Police, with much of the last year seeing above average volumes and the largest year-on-year increase in reported hate crime (22 per cent when comparing 2015/16 to 2014/15).

"Racially aggravated hate crime is the most common type of reported hate crime and hate incidents in Sheffield (81 per cent of all hate crime and incidents are racially aggravated).

"This reflects the national trend and it is accepted that whilst under-reporting exists for all hate crime and incidents, significant under-reporting is most prevalent within certain groups, particularly disability and transgender hate crimes.

"Hate Crime features in South Yorkshire Police’s (SYP) Force Strategic Assessment 2016 as a medium risk thematic area, based on the probability and impact of an event.

"In light of concerns around the under-reporting of hate crime, there has been ongoing work to increase confidence, provide more accessible reporting through online and third party reporting centres and improve crime-recording standards.

"Consequently, there has been an increase in hate crime reported to the force, which is a strong indicator that the actions and engagement undertaken by SYP and nationally, has increased awareness and confidence to report crimes and incidents."