Record rise in hate crimes may not be 'genuine', says Home Office

Home Office
Home Office

A record rise in hate crimes may not be genuine as police are under pressure to log more of the offences, the Home Office says.

Hate crimes rose to their highest level on record in the year to March, with a total of 155,841 offences. This represented a 26 per cent rise, the biggest increase since records began in 2012/13, according to Home Office figures published on Thursday.

Racially motivated offences - which accounted for 70 per cent of the crimes - crossed the 100,000 threshold, while transgender hate crimes saw the biggest rise at 53 per cent, up from 2,630 to 4035.

The findings come despite official crime surveys of the public, which show that people feel they are experiencing less hate.

This has prompted claims that police are under pressure to log more crimes as having a racial, religious, sexual or transgender element and are "pandering" to special interest groups.

'Genuine rise' or 'continued recording improvements'

The Home Office report on the data admitted: "It is uncertain to what degree the increase in police recorded hate crime is a genuine rise, or due to continued recording improvements and more victims having the confidence to report these crimes to the police."

It cited the crime survey for England and Wales - in which 50,000 people aged 16 and over are questioned about their experience of hate crime - which showed that the estimated number of hate incidents had fallen by 40 per cent in the past decade from 307,000 to 184,000.

David Green, the chief executive of the think tank Civitas, said: "It is due to a change in police activity. They are on the look out for hate crime to demonstrate that they are not racist or misogynist."

The Home Office suggested the rise in transgender hate crime could be the result of trans issues being "heavily discussed on social media".

Galop, an LGBT+ anti-abuse charity, said transphobic narratives in the media and by senior politicians had been allowed to grow without challenge and were translating into "violence against our community".

The report showed that racially-motivated hate crimes increased by 19 per cent to 100,466 in the year ending March 2022.

Religious hate crimes increased by 37 per cent to 8,730 offences, the highest on record and up from 6,383 in the previous year.

Sexual orientation hate crimes increased by 41 per cent to 26,152, and disability hate crimes by 43 per cent to 14,242.

Hate crimes nearly quadrupled since records began

The report also revealed that the number of hate crimes nearly quadrupled from the 42,255 offences in 2012/13 when the records began.

Of the total 155,841 hate crimes in the year to March, the majority were "public order" (51 per cent), followed by stalking and harassment (22 per cent), and violence (19 per cent), albeit most without injury.

Sexual orientation public order hate crimes were 13 per cent likely to get charged, compared to just two per cent of disability hate crimes and three per cent of transgender crimes.

Meanwhile, seven per cent of violence hate crimes resulted in a charge, and five per cent of hate-inspired criminal damage offences.