Racially-motivated hate crime reports to Avon and Somerset Police up by 20% after Black Lives Matter events

The Black Lives Matter movement has encouraged more victims to report crimes. Credit: PA images

There has been a 20% increase in the number of racially-motivated hate crimes reported to Avon and Somerset Police in the months following the Black Lives Matter events.

The force has attributed the rise to a growing intolerance for racism following the killing of George Floyd and months of global protests.

A hate crime support charity in Bristol, SARI, has also revealed it is the busiest it has been since the 1990s as more people feel empowered to come forward.

According to Avon and Somerset Police, nearly 50% of hate crimes reported to the force in June 2020 were directed towards individuals from black communities.

Officers believe more people are reporting the crimes because the recent Black Lives Mater movement has empowered them to speak up.

However, officers also believe the events of the past few months have led to a "backlash on black individuals".

The force said it has heard victim reports of people making remarks about the transatlantic slave trade and the killing of George Floyd.

The young NHS workers suffered life-changing injuries. Credit: ITV West Country

In July, a young NHS worker was left seriously injured after a racially-aggravated hit and run attack in Bristol.

The 21-year-old, K-Dogg, was hit by a car while walking to a bus stop after finishing work at Southmead Hospital. He needed three operations.

Avon and Somerset Police immediately treated the attack as racially aggravated after it was discovered the two occupants of the car used racist language before fleeing the scene.

Of the 2,599 hate crimes recorded by Avon and Somerset Police between January and August 2020, 72% of them were racially-motivated.

Breakdown of other hate crimes recorded:

  • 10% - disability hate crimes

  • 3% - gender-motivated hate crimes

  • 13% - sexual orientation hate crimes

  • 2% - transgender hate crimes

Alex Raikes MBE, Strategic Director of SARI, said the charity has seen the same rise as the local police force.

The Bristol-based charity also revealed the coronavirus pandemic has led to a spike in the number of attacks on Chinese and South Eastern Asian members of the community.

One of the most defining moments of the global movement was when a statue of slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down. Credit: PA images

Not all hate crimes are on the rise, which triggers concerns that some victims still feel unable to speak out.

Avon and Somerset Police said there is a noticeable downward trend in the number of hate crimes reported by Muslim, Jewish and Police communities.

The force links this to language and cultural barriers, a lack of awareness of what support is available, and a lack of understanding of the reporting system.

People with disabilities and those from transgender communities are also prone to under-reporting instances of hate crime.

Superintendent Andy Bennett from the force said: “Events taking place not only across the pond but also right on our doorsteps, have catapulted racism and hate crime into the centre of many discussions in recent months. “Tackling hate crime is a top priority for our police force. We need to celebrate the cultural, religious, and historical diversity of our region, and work together to put an end to hate crime. We want to remind you that you are not alone and we are here to help you."

Are you a victim of hate crime, or know someone who is?