Record levels of hate crime 'paint bleak picture for equality in UK'

Kolade Ladipo, who was subjected to racist and homophobic abuse three times in one night, spoke to ITV News Reporter Sangita Lal about his experiences

Record numbers of hate crimes are being recorded by police, with around three-quarters of reported offences being racially motivated.

New figures released by the Home Office "paint a bleak picture for equality in the UK", the chief executive of the Race Equality Foundation said.

There were 124,091 hate crimes recorded in the year to March 2021, with numbers rising each year since records began in 2011-12.

The latest figures comprise 92,052 race hate crimes, 6,377 religious hate crimes, 18,596 sexual-orientation hate crimes, 9,943 disability hate crimes and 2,799 transgender hate crimes.

The Home Office said the rise has been driven by improvements in recording, growing awareness and a better identification of what constitutes a hate crime.

Hate crime figures explained

Excluding the 2021 figures from Greater Manchester Police, which was unable to provide data for the year to March 2020 as a comparison, there were 114,958 hate crimes recorded in the year to March 2021 – an annual rise of 9%.

Around three-quarters – 85,268 offences – were racially motivated, an annual rise of 12%, or more than 9,000 more incidents.

Disability related hate crimes rose by 9%, sexual orientation-related hate crimes by 7%, while transgender identity-related hate crimes were up 3%.

Hate crimes linked to religion were down 18% compared to the previous year – the second annual fall in a row.

Diana Fawcett, chief executive at independent charity Victim Support, said they had "seen a rise in the number of people coming to us for support as a result of hate crime and it’s incredibly concerning to see a significant increase across the country.

“We do recognise that the observed increase may be the result of the easing of lockdown restrictions, which has made it easier for more victims to come forward, and people feeling more confident in reporting incidences which is positive.

“However, it’s appalling that we continue to see race-related hate crime remaining at high levels, and we strongly condemn all types of racist abuse.

“It’s also worrying that there are more victims seeking support for disability, homophobic and transgender identity-related hate crimes, which we know can have a damaging effect on a victim’s sense of safety, well-being and self-worth.”

Chief executive of the Race Equality Foundation, Jabeer Butt, said: “The latest hate crime figures paint a bleak picture for equality in the UK.

“The fact that almost three quarters of hate crimes were racially motivated shows just how far is left to go towards building a society that is truly tolerant and anti-racist.

“While some of the 9% overall increase in hate crime can be attributed to improvements in crime recording, it is all too clear that too many people still face horrific attacks simply on the basis of who they are.

“The government’s Hate Crime Action Plan has clearly fallen short and needs to be revisited as a matter of urgency.”

Robbie de Santos, director of communications and external affairs at Stonewall, said many hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community go unreported.

He said: “All lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people deserve to live our lives free from fear, and these figures must be a wake-up call for addressing LGBTQ+ hate crimes.

“From ensuring that LGBTQ+ hate crimes are properly recorded and prosecuted within the criminal justice system, to training police forces to understand LGBTQ+ hate crime and support LGBTQ+ victims and survivors, it’s vital that we all do more to tackle violence and hate directed at LGBTQ+ people.”