Hate crime reports rose after terror attacks, police say

Hate crime reports surged in the days immediately after three terror attacks in the UK this year, police data shows.

The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) registered “brief increases” in hate crime reports following attacks at Westminster, Manchester and London Bridge, but not after Finsbury Park.

The incidents were reported to forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

NPCC hate crime lead, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, said reports “quickly subsided within a few days”.

There have been four terror attacks in Britain in 2017 – at Westminster Bridge in London on 22 March, Manchester Arena on 22 May, London Bridge on 3 June and at Finsbury Park in London on 19 June.

Police recorded 234 hate crime incidents two days after the Westminster attack, 273 reports two days after Manchester and 319 reports two days after London Bridge.

Police said in 2016 there were on average 171 hate crimes per day – although this could be higher on weekends, where more hate crimes tended to be reported, or after specific events such as protest marches.

Manchester surge

In the week after each attack, hate crime reports increased by 12% after Westminster, 50% after Manchester and 34% after London Bridge.

By contrast, hate crime reports were 7% lower in the week after the Finsbury Park attack, the NPCC said.

Police said race or faith hate crime comprised the vast majority of reports.

But the NPCC added that analysis of the data was “ongoing” and that year-on-year comparisons should be viewed with caution – last year, for example, hate crime reports increased after the EU referendum vote in June.

ACC Hamilton said the figures were nevertheless a “real concern for the police service and wider society”.

He said: “We know that terrorist attacks and other national and global events have the potential to trigger short-term spikes in hate crime and so we have been carefully monitoring community tensions following recent horrific events.

“As terrorists seek to divide us, it is more important than ever that we continue to stand united in the face of hostility and hatred.”

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