South Yorkshire bucks the trend as hate crime falls following Brexit vote

Hate crime fell in South Yorkshire after the Brexit vote - compared to most other places in the country which saw an increase in offences.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 15th February 2017, 6:04 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 8:22 am
Hate crime offences fell in South Yorkshire after the Brexit vote
Hate crime offences fell in South Yorkshire after the Brexit vote

Between July and September last year, after the EU referendum, there were 225 hate crimes reported in South Yorkshire - down one per cent on the same period the year before.

Nationally there were 14,295 offences recorded - an increase of 27 per cent.

Record levels of hate crime were reported by three-quarters of police forces in England and Wales, new analysis has shown.

In some areas the number of incidents jumped by more than 50 per cent.

A human rights organisation has said the country should prepare for the possibility of further spikes in offences once the Brexit process has begun.

The figures show that 33 out of 44 forces recorded the highest quarterly number of hate crimes since comparable records began in April 2012.

Only four forces, including South Yorkshire, reported a decrease on the previous three months.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission said the findings suggested a small number of people used the Brexit vote 'to legitimise inexcusable racism and prejudice', while the charity Victim Support said that more needed to be done to encourage victims to come forward.

In 36 police force areas, a majority of voters backed 'Leave' in the referendum - and the quarterly hate crime figure rose in all of them except two.

The area with the biggest 'Leave' vote, Lincolnshire, saw hate crimes jump by 59 per cent.

But the figures do not suggest a trend across the country. Two forces that covered areas with a large 'Remain' vote - Merseyside and Thames Valley - recorded rises in hate crime of 19 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.'

David Isaac, chairman of the EHRC, said it 'must be sensible to prepare for any possible spikes' in hate crime once Brexit negotiations get under way.

"The vast majority of people who voted to leave the European Union did so because they believed it was best for Britain and not because they are intolerant of others," he said.

"It is clear, however, that a small minority of people used the Brexit vote to legitimise inexcusable racism and prejudice. We cannot allow such intolerable acts of hate to be condoned or repeated.

Lucy Hastings, director at Victim Support, said the charity last year supported 16,000 victims of hate crime in England and Wales and confirmed a spike in referrals in the immediate aftermath of the referendum.

She said the rise could be linked to increased publicity about hate crimes, which 'encouraged more people to report or seek support'.

"Hate crime has no place in our society and every victim of this crime is one too many," she said.

"We believe that more needs to be done to further encourage reporting. This includes making third-party hate crime units more accessible to the public."

Hate crime offences in Nottinghamshire went up by 75 per cent and by eight per cent in Derbyshire.