Hate crimes increase by third in Greater Manchester as 'England's Euros defeat' blamed

Credit: PA images

Racially and religiously-aggravated crimes in Greater Manchester increased by more than a third in the last 12 months, a report has found.

Figures shows the region saw a 34% increase of reported hate crimes, from 4,724 to 6,431, in 2021.

Police forces say the country's reaction to England’s defeat at the Euro football championship final is likely to have contributed to the increase.

Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were targeted with shocking racist abuse after missing penalties in the 3-2 shootout.

Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho received racist abuse after the Euros final. Credit: PA images

The easing of Covid-19 restrictions is another factor named by forces as having led to the rise in offences, along with improved recording of hate crimes.

The UK-wide analysis has been compiled from data published by the Home Office.It shows that of the 44 forces in England and Wales, 39 reported a rise in racially and religiously aggravated offences from 2020 to 2021, while 34 forces saw numbers last year reach a new high.The offences – all of which are defined as hate crimes – include racially or religiously aggravated assault, harassment and criminal damage.

Independent charity Victim Support said the figures were “seriously concerning” and fit a pattern for “spikes in hate crime linked to world events”.

The spike has been blamed on the Euros championship final and the lifting of covid restrictions. Credit: PA images

The number of offences has been on an upwards trend since 2013, the first calendar year for which comparable data is available.

Superintendent Rick Jackson, Greater Manchester Police’s hate crime lead, said the number of incidents during lockdown were “unprecedentedly low, so it was to be expected that there would be an increase”once restrictions were lifted.

He continued to say that is is “encouraging that members of our communities have the trust and confidence in Greater Manchester Police to report hate crime”.The National Police Chiefs’ Council said hate crimes are “completely unacceptable – police will take, and do take, all reports seriously and we will do everything we can to investigate”.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, said: “Everyone has the right to live their lives without fear of being attacked for who they are, either physically or verbally.“We strongly encourage anyone who thinks they may have experienced any hate crime to report it to the police.

"Our officers are highly trained, will treat everyone with respect and dignity and handle cases sensitively.

"We ask that victims come to us as soon as possible after an offence has been committed so we can begin our investigation as early as possible.”

If you are a victim of hate crime and need someone to talk to, you can find support here.

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