Rise in reported hate crime and racially motivated incidents in Wokingham

New figures shows recorded hate crime is increasing in Wokingham Borough, with 242 offences (an increase of nearly 25 per cent). Credit: ITV News Meridian

The number of reported hate crime incidents in Wokingham have risen over the past four years, according to council officials.

Hate crime has gone up in the Berkshire town every year for the last four years. Nationally, incidents have increased by 9% (year ending March 2021) compared to the previous 12 months, the council said.

New figures shows recorded hate crime is increasing in Wokingham Borough, with 242 offences - an increase of nearly 25%, since 2020.

A hate crime is any crime targeted to a person because of hostility or prejudice towards their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or disability.

Recent trends have involved racially motivated or faith motivated incidents, following a rise last year of those recorded as homophobic and transphobic.

In a statement responding to the figures, Wokingham Borough Council said: "While the borough is a safe place to live, nowhere is free from the risk of hate crime and hateful extremism."

The council is urging people across the borough to report hate crimes to its Community Safety Team, or call 999 in an emergency.

Cllr Ian Shenton, from Wokingham Borough Council said: "Eradicating hate may seem an impossible mission, but if everyone shows kindness, empathy and understanding to one another, we will go a long way towards achieving it.

"An important step is to ensure residents have the confidence to report a hate crime and to know that it will make a difference to not only your life, but also the lives of others.

"It is everyone's responsibility to keep Wokingham Borough a safe place to live for all residents and it is vital that we continue to celebrate our differences and stand together.

"It may be hard to confront, but by reporting a hate crime, you may stop someone else from being a victim."

From a total of 124,091 incidents recorded across England and Wales, 92,052 were related to race.

An area of improvement nationally has been in religious hate crimes, which have fallen by 18 per cent (down from 6,856 to 5,627 offences in the previous year).

This was the second successive fall in religious hate crimes since a peak of 7,202 offences in the year ending March 2019.