This report presents the findings of a study into the nature of police recorded hate aggravated crimes in Scotland. This includes new details on the characteristics of these cases, based on a random sample of police recorded crimes.
Hate crimes recorded by the police
The police recorded 6,448 hate crimes in 2019-20. Since 2014-15, the number of hate crimes recorded has fluctuated between 6,300 and 7,000 crimes.
In 2019-20, around three-fifths (62%) of hate crimes included a race aggravator with one in five (20%) including a sexual orientation aggravator.
Hate crimes in 2018-19:
The following summary excludes the estimated one in five hate crimes where the victim was a police officer in the line of duty. These cases are summarised separately further below.
Characteristics of hate crime:
Around a third of hate crime in Scotland involved a victim who experienced the incident at their place of work or whilst undertaking duties as part of their occupation. Most of these victims were working in retail or other service industries.
Almost two-thirds of hate crime victims and three quarters of perpetrators were male. In around half of crimes the victim did not know the perpetrator, with more than a third involving a perpetrator who was an acquaintance of the victim.
Cases occur in a range of settings. One in ten crimes involved a victim and perpetrator who were in different physical locations (including phone calls and cyber-enabled technologies).
The vast majority of hate crimes were reported by victims themselves, or those acting on their behalf such as parents, teachers, carers and employers.
For race aggravated hate crimes:
Where information was available on the ethnicity of victims, almost two-thirds (or 64%) of race aggravated hate crimes had a victim from a non-white ethnic group. This compares to 4% of Scotland's population at the time of the last census in 2011.
An estimated 18% of race aggravated hate crimes had a victim of Pakistani, Pakistani British or Pakistani Scottish ethnicity. This was followed by African, Caribbean or Black (17% of cases), Polish or Other white (15%), White Scottish (10%), Other White British (7%) and Indian, Indian Scottish or Indian British (6%).
In just over a third of race aggravated hate crimes, the words used or actions taken by the perpetrator suggested an anti-Black prejudice and in just over a quarter of cases prejudice was shown towards the Pakistani community. In around one in six crimes the perpetrator made general xenophobic remarks not directed at any one group.
For the other hate aggravators:
A majority of disability aggravated hate crimes included a prejudice to those with a learning disability (59%). A further one in five (21%) showed a prejudice to those with a physical disability.
In around two-fifths of religion aggravated hate crimes the perpetrator showed prejudice towards the Catholic community. In over a quarter of crimes, prejudice was shown towards the Muslim community and in one in ten it was towards the Protestant community.
In the vast majority (94%) of sexual-orientation aggravated hate crimes, the perpetrator showed prejudice towards the gay and lesbian community.
In the vast majority (85%) of transgender identity aggravated hate crimes, the perpetrator showed prejudice towards those from the transgender community.
For hate crimes with a police officer victim:
In over two-fifths of hate crimes experienced by police officers (45%), the perpetrator showed a prejudice towards the gay and lesbian community. This was followed by anti-Pakistani and anti-Black prejudice (13% and 12% of hate crimes respectively).