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 in 2020-21.
Hate crimes recorded by the police
The police recorded 6,927 hate crimes in 2021-22. Since 2014-15, the number of hate crimes recorded has fluctuated between 6,300 and 7,000 crimes.
In 2021-22, around three-fifths (62%) of hate crimes included a race aggravator and over a quarter (27%) included a sexual orientation aggravator.
Hate crimes in 2020-21:
The following summary excludes the estimated one in four 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:
Just under a third of hate crimes 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.
A majority of both hate crime victims (59%) and perpetrators (72%) were male. In 45% of crimes the victim did not know the perpetrator, whilst in 38% of cases the perpetrator was an acquaintance of the victim.
Cases occur in a range of settings. Fourteen percent of 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 visible minority ethnic (non-white) 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 African, Caribbean or Black ethnicity. This was followed by Polish or Other White and Pakistani, Pakistani British or Pakistani Scottish (with both groups accounting for 17% of cases each). At 12%, victims who were White Scottish made up the next largest group
In 36% of race aggravated hate crimes, the words used or actions taken by the perpetrator suggested an anti-Black prejudice and in over a quarter of cases prejudice was shown towards the Pakistani community. In almost one in five 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 (73%). Just under one in six (15%) showed a prejudice to those with a physical disability.
In almost half of religion aggravated hate crimes the perpetrator showed prejudice towards the Catholic community (47%). The next largest groups were the Muslim and Protestant communities, both accounting for 16% of cases each.
In the vast majority of sexual orientation aggravated hate crimes, the perpetrator showed prejudice towards the gay (77%) and lesbian (23%) community.
In the vast majority (89%) 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 46% of hate crimes experienced by police officers the perpetrator showed a prejudice towards the gay and lesbian community. This was followed by anti-Black (19%), anti-Learning disability (9%) and anti-Pakistani prejudice (9%).
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