Hate crimes in Scotland ‘fell after Brexit vote’

Scotland voted to Remain in the vote in June. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

Scotland voted to Remain in the vote in June. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

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Hate crimes in Scotland fell in the aftermath of the referendum on membership of the European Union (EU) - despite a 14 per cent rise being recorded across the UK as a whole.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by the Mirror revealed that, although tensions had boiled over in a number of places south of the Border - particularly in areas that had voted to leave the EU - Scotland was the only police force area in the UK where the number of recorded hate crimes fell.

Scotland, which recorded a higher Remain vote than any other UK region, saw hate crimes fall by 15 per cent.

Police Scotland chief superintendent Barry McEwan told the Mirror: “At this time we have not witnessed any increase in the level of reports being received. However, we acknowledge that often these incidents go unreported.”

Northants also saw a drop of one per cent while there were minor rises in Hampshire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester - areas which included constituencies that had backed Remain.

The regions that saw the biggest rise in hate crimes were Suffolk (+ 68 per cent); Gwent (+ 67 per cent); Norfolk (+ 63 per cent) and Thames Valley (+ 56 per cent).

Lincolnshire Police - which covers the three areas with the highest Leave vote - did not disclose its hate crime numbers.

Police in Suffolk recorded 11 separate reports of people being told to ‘go home’ or ‘go back to your country’ in the period from June 20 to July 20, while the worst period for hate crimes was between June 28 and July 3, with a total of 675 incidents reported.

Dr Jon Burnett, a researcher at the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), told the Mirror that the result of the vote had ‘emboldened’ some people who had previously held xenophobic feelings.

Dr Burnett added: “Many of those who voted to leave the EU were not against immigration or hostile to multiculturalism.

“But as these statistics show, the referendum has emboldened some people with xenophobic feelings, with a consequence of abuse and physical violence.

“What should also be borne in mind though is that there have also been some of the greatest acts of solidarity in areas that had a high leave vote.”

• Of the 43 police forces in the UK, 30 responded to the FoI request.

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