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Racist hate crimes soar in Cornwall and Devon

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Published by Emma Carton at 6:55am 26th July 2018. (Updated at 10:23am 26th July 2018)

Devon and Cornwall Police are having to deal with more racist hate crimes, after a spike in offences around Brexit.

The latest Home Office data shows the number reported to police where race is the motivating factor, rose 32% during the year of the referendum.

In 2016/2017, 740 incidents were where someone was abused or attacked due to their race were recorded by officers in the Duchy and Devon, up from 561 cases the year before.

A Home Office report states that, while the police have improved their recording methods, "part of the increase is due to a genuine increase in hate crime, particularly around the time of the EU Referendum".

Rose Simkins, chief executive of Stop Hate UK, said it was "now an indisputable fact" that racist incidents have risen since the Brexit vote.

"Our own figures, from the period 2016-17, also support this trend where, after several years of disability being the biggest motivating factor, there was a clear shift towards race being the biggest factor.

"Also, after the referendum, many more people reported suffering hate for the first time, as deep-rooted prejudices surfaced and manifested themselves as abuse and threats to innocent members of the public".

Read more: Police in Newquay are investigating after human poo was found on benches painted for Cornwall Pride.

pride 1

The figures also show a rise in Islamophobic and anti-Semitic hate crime, where religion was a motivating factor.

Devon and Cornwall Police recorded 70 cases in 2016-17; that is 40 more than the previous year.

Rose Simkins said that while reporting and recording of hate crime has improved, she believes there is a large disparity between the actual number of incidents and the number reported to the police.

"It is vital that the police and authorities make use of the advice, support and training available from specialist third party organisations, such as Stop Hate UK and that, collectively, we adopt a collaborative approach to tackling hate crime.

"We still need many more resources to help close the disparity between the number of incidents happening to those reported, and to increase public confidence that an incident, or perceived incident, is worth reporting in the first place".

The total number of hate crime cases in Devon and Cornwall increased by 223 in 2016-17, with racist offences making up the majority of those.

Incidents where disability is the motivating factor have also risen, from 79 in 2015-16 to 105 in the latest figures.

"It's alarming that thousands of disabled people are being targeted in this way because of their impairment or condition.

"We encourage everyone to report these despicable crimes to the authorities, so those responsible can be caught and prosecuted".

Phil Talbot, disability charity Scope

On its website, Devon and Cornwall Police urges victims of hate crimes to report them.

"A hate crime is any hate incident which constitutes a criminal offence and the victim or any other person believes it to be motivated by prejudice or hate.

"We record a hate incident if the victim or another person believes it is motivated by the hatred of someone because of a particular factor.

"Those factors include a person's disability, their race, ethnicity or nationality, their religion or belief, their sexual orientation, their transgender identity and hate crime can be against the person, or the person's property.

"No-one should have to live in fear or anxiety. You do not have to suffer in silence. We urge you to report hate incidents.

"Hate crime doesn't just affect the individual person it is aimed at. It can have a major impact on whole communities".

Have I have been a victim of hate crime?

  • Have you been attacked or threatened with violence?
  • Have you been called names or suffered any other verbal abuse?
  • Have you been sent offensive letters, emails or text messages?
  • Has your property been interfered with or damaged?
  • Have you suffered any other form of hate motivated harassment?
  • If any of these things are or have been happening to you, please report it to the police. We can only deal with the problem with your help.

"We will take your complaint seriously. If you have been a victim of crime we will do all we can to bring the offender(s) to justice.

"If you have suffered other forms of harassment there may be a variety of ways in which we can deal with the problem and provide assistance, including working with partner agencies, housing providers, voluntary and community groups and organisations".

Devon and Cornwall Police

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