Hate crimes reach record levels in Dorset

Hate crimes reach record levels in Dorset

Published by Maria Greenwood at 7:36am 18th October 2019.

New figures have revealed that hate crime is rising in Dorset, with police logging two offences each day.

Dorset Police recorded 726 hate crimes in 2018-19, the latest Home Office statistics show – up 29% from the previous year.

The rise continues the upward trend seen since records began in 2012-13, when officers logged 181.

Police night

'What is hate crime?'

Reports can include racially or religiously aggravated assault, harassment and criminal damage.

Two-thirds of reports in Dorset related to race, while 20% featured hostility towards sexual orientation.

Racially motivated offences made up 67% of all of Dorset's hate crime last year.

The Home Office attributes this steady rise in part down to improvements in the way crimes are recorded. Spikes in reporting after events such as the EU referendum in 2016 and terror attacks the following year also contributed, it said.

Another, unexplained jump over the summer of 2018, and again in January this year, however, may reflect a "real rise" in recorded hate crimes, statisticians added.

racism black and white pencils

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, the National Police Chiefs' Council's lead on hate crime, said:

"We recognise there are real divisions in our society at this time, and there is a responsibility on us all to think carefully and be temperate in how we communicate with each other to avoid escalating tensions or emboldening others."

Citizens UK, an umbrella organisation of faith and community groups, said its research suggests levels of hate crimes are far higher than those recorded in official data.

Their open letter, which expressed "deep concern at the rising tide of fear and division", featured 18 bishops, imams and rabbis as signatories, along with leaders from Stonewall, the Muslim Council of Britain and the Fawcett Society.