Hate crimes recorded by the police in Scotland, 2022-23

This report presents updated information on the number of hate crimes recorded by the police in Scotland during 2022-23 (along with previously published time series analysis since 2014-15).

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 earlier study, along with definitions of the most frequently committed hate crimes.

The information provided below on the volume of hate crime recorded by the police during 2014-15 to 2022-23 is drawn from the Interim Vulnerable Persons Database (IVPD). Whilst the IVPD itself is not Police Scotland’s crime recording system, should criminality be identified as part of a hate-related incident then the appropriate crimes will 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.

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. There can also be cases where damaged property is owned by an organisation (for example a local authority) rather than a person. Where there are person-based victims, these can often be police officers in the line of duty (including an estimated one-in-four of total hate crimes recorded in 2020-21). 


Email: justice_analysts@gov.scot

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