Muslims were among the religious groups most targeted as the UK registered a 10 percent spike in hate crimes over the previous year, according to official government data released on Tuesday (Oct 15).
The UK Home Office data found that there were a record 103,379 hate crime offences in 2018-19, which is an increase of 10 percent compared to 94,121 in 2017-18 and more than double from 42,255 since 2012-13. While the majority of hate crimes recorded by police forces in England and Wales were racial in nature (78,991), religious hate crimes also marked an increased over the past year.
“Just under half (47 percent) of religious hate crime offences were targeted against Muslims (3,530 offences), a similar proportion to last year. A further 18 percent religious hate crime offences were targeted against Jewish people (1,326 offences),” the Home Office data notes.
Hate crime is defined as an offence, which the victim or any other person considers to be driven by hostility towards their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity. It can include verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, assault and bullying, as well as damage to property.
Over half (54 percent) of the hate crimes recorded by the police were for public order offences and a further third (36 percent) were for violence against the person offences. Five percent were recorded as criminal damage and arson offences.
Transgender hate crime went up significantly by 37 percent to 2,333 and for crimes involving a victim’s sexual orientation, the rise was 25 percent to 14,491 and for disability 14 percent to 8,256.
“Around 12 percent of hate crime offences in 2018-19 were estimated to have involved more than one motivating factor, the majority of these were hate crimes related to both race and religion,” the Home Office said.
It is believed that the increases in hate crime over the last five years have been mainly driven by improvements in crime recording by police forces across England and Wales, with particular spikes noted in the wake of certain divisive events such as the European Union (EU) Referendum in favour of Brexit in June 2016 and terrorist attacks in 2017.
The recorded figures show racially or religiously aggravated offences are more likely to be dealt with by a charge or court summons, which the government said reflects "the serious nature" of these offences.