Publication - Research and analysis

Hate crime: availability of information recorded by the police in Scotland

Published: 27 Feb 2019
Part of:
Research
ISBN:
9781787816176

Update on work by our statisticians and Police Scotland to review the availability of information on hate crime.

33 page PDF

545.7 kB

33 page PDF

545.7 kB

Supporting files

Contents
Hate crime: availability of information recorded by the police in Scotland
3. Summary information on hate crime recorded by Police Scotland in the Interim Vulnerable Persons Database (IVPD)

33 page PDF

545.7 kB

Supporting files

3. Summary information on hate crime recorded by Police Scotland in the Interim Vulnerable Persons Database (IVPD)

Background

As outlined in section 2, our investigations suggest that the IVPD does adequately reflect the total volume of hate crime that comes to the attention of Police Scotland. Therefore it can be used to produce summary information that will provide a good indication of the scale of police recorded hate crime in Scotland. This report includes that information for each of the five hate crime characteristics (race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender identity), and covers 2014-15 to 2017-18.

This will not cover all hate crime in Scotland, as not all crimes are reported to the police.

3.1 Extracting information from the IVPD

In order to carry out analysis of hate crimes recorded by the police, these first had to be identified within the IVPD, and the related information extracted. Those crimes which included a hate aggravator were identified and included in the below analysis.

The IVPD is a live operational database, therefore the information extracted is subject to change. Data was extracted following the conclusion of the 2017-18 reporting year and as such investigations will still be ongoing in relation to some of the more recent crimes, with data from previous years more likely to be in a near finalised state after investigations have been completed.

Crimes have been presented in this report against the year in which they were recorded by the police. This is the same approach as the National Statistics on recorded crime, which also presents crimes by the date they were recorded. Not all crimes are reported to, and therefore recorded by, the police immediately following their occurrence. As such each year's figures could include a proportion of crimes which occurred in earlier years.

Notes on tables

  • '*' indicates a value of less than 5, 0.5% or 0.5 per 10,000 population (or based on a figure less than 5) but greater than zero
  • '-' indicates a value of zero
  • All figures for percentages and rates are rounded to the nearest whole number
  • Totals may not sum to 100% due to rounding

3.2.1 Hate crimes recorded by the police

Overview

There are a range of factors that could influence the number of hate crimes recorded by the police. Whilst changes in the number of crimes recorded could reflect a change in the number of crimes experienced by the population of Scotland, other factors are also likely to have an impact.

Trends can be affected by public reporting practices; attitudes to certain behaviour may change over time and reporting rates may vary by the type of crime.

Under-reporting of hate crime is recognised as a key factor. The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) 2016-17[19] estimated that 37% of all crimes (as defined by the SCJS) were reported to the police.

Actions being taken by both the Scottish Government and Police Scotland to address the under-reporting of hate crime are discussed further in Section 4.

Recording Procedures

Contraventions of Scottish criminal law are generally divided for statistical purposes into crimes or offences. For the purposes of this report the term 'hate crime' includes both crimes and offences.

'Crime' is generally used for the more serious criminal acts; the less serious termed 'offences', although the term 'offence' may also be used in relation to serious breaches of criminal law. The distinction is made only for working purposes and the 'seriousness' of the offence is generally related to the maximum sentence that can be imposed. More information can be found in the Annex, along with definitions of the most frequently committed hate crimes.

The IVPD itself is not Police Scotland's crime recording system, although if as part of a hate-related incident criminality is identified then the appropriate crimes should also be recorded in the IVPD.

Further information on the recording of crime can be found in the guidance provided to officers in the Scottish Crime Recording Standard: Crime Recording and Counting Rules[20].

As noted in the introduction, for the purpose of this report, a hate crime is any crime which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated (wholly or partly) by malice and ill-will towards a social group.

Not all crimes will necessarily have a victim. One example may be where racist graffiti not directed at any individual (i.e. a hate crime of vandalism with a race aggravator) is discovered and reported. A hate concern would be raised on the IVPD with the witness (i.e. the person reporting) being identified as the subject of concern.

Number of hate crimes

The police recorded 6,736 hate crimes in the IVPD in 2017-18. Since 2014-15, the number of hate crimes recorded in the IVPD has fluctuated between 6,600 and 7,000 crimes (Table 1).

Geographic location of hate crimes

In 2017-18, the number of hate crimes recorded by Police Scotland per 10,000 population was highest in the Glasgow City and City of Edinburgh local authority areas (at 30 and 26 crimes per 10,000 population respectively) (Table 1). The Shetland Islands and Na h-Eileanan Siar had the lowest rates.

Whilst the Glasgow City and City of Edinburgh local authority areas collectively accounted for 21% of Scotland's population in 2017, they accounted for nearly half (48%) of all hate crimes recorded by Police Scotland in 2017-18. This could, at least in part, relate to the relatively higher level of ethnic diversity present within these two areas (the majority of associated hate crimes included a race aggravation - see Table 2). The 2011 Scottish Census reported that the City of Edinburgh and Glasgow City local authority areas have the highest proportion of their population comprised of ethnic groups other than 'White British', 18% and 17% respectively, compared to the Scottish average of 8%. Other factors that may lead to the relatively higher number of recorded crimes within these two local authorities include the presence of a large night-time economy, and a large daily influx of visitors, workers and tourists. They are also more frequently used as the location for large scale events and the holding of demonstrations.

Table 1: Hate crimes recorded by the police, by local authority, 2014-15 to 2017-18

Local Authority 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Number Rate per 10,000 pop. Number Rate per 10,000 pop. Number Rate per 10,000 pop. Number Rate per 10,000 pop.
Scotland 7,029 13 6,786 13 6,577 12 6,736 12
Aberdeen City 315 14 302 13 259 11 258 11
Aberdeenshire 82 3 55 2 83 3 108 4
Angus 73 6 71 6 56 5 88 8
Argyll and Bute 49 6 37 4 55 6 50 6
City of Edinburgh 1,422 29 1,320 26 1,324 26 1,343 26
Clackmannanshire 63 12 82 16 73 14 62 12
Dumfries and Galloway 121 8 97 6 69 5 98 7
Dundee City 171 12 192 13 142 10 169 11
East Ayrshire 110 9 98 8 84 7 106 9
East Dunbartonshire 63 6 61 6 67 6 65 6
East Lothian 73 7 48 5 61 6 78 7
East Renfrewshire 79 9 51 5 88 9 62 7
Na h-Eileanan Siar 5 2 8 3 7 3 * *
Falkirk 219 14 198 13 199 12 203 13
Fife 392 11 436 12 379 10 398 11
Glasgow City 1,857 31 1,747 29 1,865 30 1,867 30
Highland 134 6 128 5 76 3 105 4
Inverclyde 64 8 67 8 79 10 69 9
Midlothian 93 11 86 10 96 11 79 9
Moray 31 3 25 3 41 4 50 5
North Ayrshire 140 10 139 10 115 8 109 8
North Lanarkshire 306 9 333 10 281 8 293 9
Orkney Islands 5 2 9 4 * * * *
Perth and Kinross 101 7 92 6 78 5 72 5
Renfrewshire 192 11 233 13 187 11 178 10
Scottish Borders 65 6 77 7 56 5 40 3
Shetland Islands 10 4 8 3 * * * *
South Ayrshire 82 7 89 8 68 6 84 7
South Lanarkshire 264 8 263 8 242 8 269 8
Stirling 116 13 140 15 125 13 118 13
West Dunbartonshire 73 8 100 11 81 9 58 6
West Lothian 259 15 194 11 233 13 248 14

Hate crimes by aggravator

In 2017-18, two-thirds (67%) of hate crimes included a racial aggravator, 16% included a sexual orientation aggravator, 7% a religious aggravator, 4% a disability aggravator and 1% a transgender identity aggravator (Table 2). The remaining 5% of crimes and offences included more than one aggravator, with the most common combination being race and religion (2% of hate crimes in 2017-18).

These proportions remained relatively consistent between 2014-15 and 2017-18.

Table 2: Hate crimes recorded by the police, by aggravator, 2014-15 to 2017-18

Aggravator 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Number % Number % Number % Number %
Total 7,029 100 6,786 100 6,577 100 6,736 100
Race 4,967 71 4,666 69 4,435 67 4,491 67
Religion 520 7 521 8 504 8 504 7
Sexual Orientation 1,010 14 1,020 15 1,025 16 1,085 16
Disability 244 3 239 4 235 4 274 4
Transgender Identity 48 1 45 1 61 1 59 1
Multiple Aggravators -
of which
240 3 295 4 317 5 323 5
Race & Religion 134 2 153 2 154 2 160 2
Other (including. Race or Religion) 94 1 126 2 134 2 138 2
Other (excluding. Race or Religion) 12 * 16 * 29 * 25 *

Hate crimes by type of crime

In 2017-18, nearly half (45%) of hate crimes recorded were 'Threatening or abusive behaviour' under Section 38 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 (Table 3) (see the Annex for definitions of selected crimes).

This was followed by 'Racially aggravated conduct' which represented nearly a quarter (23%) of hate crimes recorded. 'Racially aggravated conduct' covers some offences under Section 50A of the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 where the perpetrator acts in a racially aggravated manner and this causes, or is intended to cause, a person alarm or distress. 'Racially aggravated conduct' is recorded where the behaviour is corroborated by one or more witnesses, otherwise an offence such as threatening or abusive behaviour with a racist aggravator would be recorded.

A further 13% of hate crimes recorded in the IVPD in 2017-18 were 'Common assault' (see the Annex for more on the definition of 'Common assault').

The number of 'Threatening or abusive behaviour' offences recorded in the IVPD has increased from 2,432 in 2014-15 and 3,031 in 2017-18. There were increases in the number of 'Threatening or abusive behaviour' offences in relation to each of the five hate strands over this time period. The number of 'Racially aggravated conduct' offences recorded in the IVPD has fallen from 2,196 in 2014-15 to 1,561 in 2017-18.

Table 3: Hate crimes recorded by the police, by type of crime, 2014-15 to 2017-18

Type of crime 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Number % Number % Number % Number %
Total 7,029 100 6,786 100 6,577 100 6,736 100
Crimes of violence and sexual crimes 153 2 92 1 106 2 143 2
Crimes of dishonesty 34 * 31 * 41 1 41 1
Vandalism, fire-raising etc. - of which 290 4 259 4 247 4 250 4
Vandalism etc. 286 4 253 4 240 4 243 4
Fire-raising * * 6 * 7 * 7 *
Other crimes 43 1 35 1 38 1 55 1
Offences - of which 6,316 90 6,161 91 6,144 93 6,215 92
Common assault 822 12 714 11 828 13 886 13
Threatening or abusive behaviour 2,432 35 2,772 41 2,939 45 3,031 45
Breach of the peace etc. 190 3 138 2 103 2 107 2
Racially aggravated harassment 249 4 187 3 178 3 216 3
Racially aggravated conduct 2,196 31 1,904 28 1,668 25 1,561 23
Communications Act 2003 offences 377 5 406 6 375 6 364 5
Other offences 50 1 40 1 53 1 50 1
Unknown crimes 193 3 208 3 * * 32 *

Type of hate crime by hate aggravator

For the purposes of this analysis we have included any crime which includes the aggravator in question, including occasions where there may have been multiple aggravators. Therefore, crimes with multiple aggravators will be included in the figures for each of the aggravators associated with it. For example, if a crime was aggravated by race and sexual orientation, it will be included in the total number of race crimes below, and sexual orientation crimes. This means the total number of crimes for each aggravator in Table 4 below will not match the totals in Tables 2 and 3.

Looking across the different aggravators and the types of crime which have been recorded in 2017-18, a relatively consistent pattern is apparent, with the most common hate crime being 'Threatening or abusive behaviour' (Table 4).

As might be expected, a far higher proportion of crimes recorded with a racial aggravator were 'Racially aggravated conduct'. This is because it is a standalone offence relating to racially aggravated behaviour, whereas there are no standalone offences relating to the other strands. There was a correspondingly lower proportion of 'Threatening or abusive behaviour' offences recorded in the IVPD for crimes with a racial aggravator. This would be expected as the offence of 'Racially aggravated conduct' is similar to the offence of 'Threatening or abusive behaviour'[21].

There were a slightly higher proportion of 'Vandalism etc.' crimes recorded in the IVPD for hate crimes with a religious aggravator than for the other strands. There are some other small differences in the proportions across other categories, however due to the smaller number of crimes recorded with a disability and transgender identity aggravator, the proportions are more likely to fluctuate year to year. Further definitions can be found in the Annex.

Table 4: Hate crimes recorded by the police, by aggravator and type of crime, 2017-18

Type of crime Race Religion Sexual Orientation Disability Transgender Identity
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Total 4,765 100 711 100 1,224 100 308 100 82 100
Crimes of violence and sexual crimes 64 1 16 2 48 4 22 7 * *
Crimes of dishonesty 25 1 5 1 * * 9 3 - -
Vandalism, fire-raising etc. - of which 162 3 58 8 35 3 * * * *
Vandalism etc. 157 3 55 8 34 3 * * * *
Fire-raising 5 * * * * * - - - -
Other crimes 40 1 8 1 9 1 * * * *
Offences - of which 4,452 94 621 87 1,123 92 271 88 75 92
Common assault 665 14 58 8 136 11 43 14 14 17
Threatening or abusive behaviour 1,705 36 402 57 860 70 177 58 50 61
Breach of the peace etc. 49 1 32 5 20 2 10 3 - -
Racially aggravated harassment 216 5 6 1 * * - - - -
Racially aggravated conduct 1,561 33 56 8 25 2 * * - -
Communications Act 2003 offences 227 5 59 8 62 5 38 12 9 11
Other offences 29 1 8 1 17 1 * * * *
Unknown crimes 22 * * * 6 * * * - -

Note: A hate crime may be included in several columns. This is because a hate crime can include multiple aggravators. This means the totals may not match those in Tables 2 and 3.