Statistics on hate crime published.
Victims and witnesses to hate crime are being encouraged to continue to speak out, as new statistics suggest more people are reporting incidents.
The Community Safety Minister has urged those affected by incidents of hate crime to report them to the police, ensuring perpetrators can be properly dealt with.
The Scottish Government and Crown Office have published a series of statistics covering hate crime and religiously aggravated offences reported in 2017/18.
- racial crime remains the most commonly reported hate crime, with the number of charges reported - 3,249 - at its lowest level since 2003/4
- sexual orientation aggravated crime is the second most common type of hate crime, with a 3% rise in reporting on last year
- the number of reported incidents relating to disability has risen by 51%, from 188 to 284 charges, since 2016/17
- 642 religiously aggravated charges were reported in 2017/18. Catholicism is the religion that was most often the subject of abuse, accounting for 50% of the charges, and down 17% from 2016/17.
- 43% of victims in religiously aggravated charges were police officers
Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing said:
“It’s reassuring to see more people are coming forward to report hate crime, and in particular disability hate crime. A significant amount of work has been done by Police Scotland, the Crown Office and community organisations over the past year to ensure this is happening.
“But I still believe this isn’t the full picture and remain concerned that crime motivated by prejudice is underreported and would urge anyone who experiences it to ensure it’s reported properly.
“The Scottish Government has invested £229.7 million in promoting equality and tackling discrimination since 2007.
“Hate crime has no place in Scotland, and we will continue to work with communities to build trust and understanding and, wherever possible, prevent hate crime from happening in the first place.”
Chief Superintendent John McKenzie said:
“Hate crime is a key priority for Police Scotland. We recognise the deep personal impact it has on individuals, their families and wider communities.
“We are aware that hate crime is often under reported however Police Scotland is fully committed to reviewing and investigating all reports of hate. It is only through reporting offences that we can form a more complete picture of the issue and address it in the most robust manner possible.
“We run regular campaigns to increase public knowledge of hate crime and reporting methods. We want all members of our communities to feel able to report any incident to us, either directly or through one of our Third Party Reporting Organisations which offer support to report.
“We continue to work in partnership with key individuals and organisations to identify ways in which we can improve how we deliver our services to all communities in Scotland.
“We would encourage anyone who has been a victim or witness to a hate incident, to contact the police and report the matter, by calling 101 or 999 if it is an emergency or via one of our third party reporting organisations, details of which can be found on the Police Scotland website."
Hate Crime in Scotland 2017-18 can be accessed here
Religiously Aggravated Offending in Scotland 2017-18 can be accessed here
Recently the Scottish Government welcomed Lord Bracadale’s review of hate crime legislation in Scotland, and will be consulting widely on his recommendations. The Scottish Government is working with Police Scotland to produce a new publication on recorded incidents.