Racial hate crimes rose by a third during period of BLM protests

Racially motivated hate crimes increased by a third during the period of the Black Lives Matter protests in the UK, new figures show.

A report published by the Home Office, looking at hate crime trends during the coronavirus pandemic, warned that rises in racially or religiously aggravated hate crime in June and July were 34 per cent higher than the previous year.

The provisional findings said this is “likely to be related to the Black Lives Matter protests and far-right groups counter-protests in England and Wales following the death of George Floyd on May 25”.

A separate document reveals the number of hate crimes recorded by police in England and Wales has hit its highest level on record, with racially-motivated offences rising by more than 4,000 in a year.

Official figures show 105,090 hate crimes were recorded in 2019/20, up eight per cent compared with 97,446 offences in 2018/19.

This is the highest number since records began in 2011/12.

According to Home Office data, race hate crimes accounted for around three-quarters of offences.

It came as Victim Support reported a 62 per cent increase in the number of people being referred for help over the summer.

The charity said intimidating behaviour from neighbours had fuelled the “extremely concerning” rise in the number of hate crime victims needing support between July and August.

The report comes after Avon and Somerset police said reports of racially-motivated hate crimes have risen by 20 per cent in Bristol in the past eight months. On June 7, protestors at an anti-racism demonstration tore down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston and threw it into the harbour. Bristol charity Stand Against Racism and Inequality (SARI) said it had also seen a rise in referrals in the same period.

According to Home Office figures, hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation also rose by 19 per cent in 2019/20.

Transgender identity hate crime went up 16 per cent in the same period, reaching its highest level since records began in 2011/12.

Disability hate crime increased by 9 per cent, also a record high.

But the report added: “These percentage increases are smaller than seen in recent years.”

It put the rise in hate crime over the last five years down to “improvements in crime recording by the police” but added that there had been spikes in reports following events like the EU Referendum in 2016 and the 2017 terror attacks.

The figures do not include the number of reports made to Greater Manchester Police because the force is still unable to supply data to the Home Office due to a computer glitch when installing new software last year.