Hate crime warning after rise in racist incidents

Racist graffiti daubed on a new-build property in Edinburgh after a Pakistani family moved in. Picture: Toby Williams
Racist graffiti daubed on a new-build property in Edinburgh after a Pakistani family moved in. Picture: Toby Williams
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The number of racist incidents recorded by police rose almost 4 per cent in a year, with members of the Pakistani community most likely to be targeted.

New figures show Police Scotland recorded a total of 4,807 racist incidents in 2013-14 – up by 3.9 per cent on the previous year but still the third lowest total in the past ten years.

There was a drop in attacks on Pakistanis, with 1,107 reporting as victims of racist behaviour, down from 1,115 in 2012-13.

But those from a Pakistani background were the most likely to be the victim/complainer of a racist incident recorded by the police, with 224.2 victims/complainers per 10,000 population.

This was followed by “African, Caribbean or other Black” with 189.9 victims/complainers recorded per 10,000 population.

The Scottish average across all ethnic backgrounds was 10.6 victims/complainers per 10,000 population. The figures, published by Scotland’s chief statistician, also showed 1,423 “white British” people were the complainers in racist incidents – up from 1,139 in 2012-13.

Community safety minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “While it is encouraging that the number of incidents involving members of the Pakistani community are now at their lowest levels in a decade, the overall increase in reported racist incidents more generally shows us that more work still needs to be done.”

Police recorded 5,520 crimes resulting from racist incidents – a 5.6 per cent increase on the previous year – with some incidents involving more than one crime being reported. Chief Superintendent Paul Main said: “One incident where hatred and intolerance is a motivating factor is one too many.

“Police Scotland continues to work closely with our communities and other partners across the criminal justice spectrum to ensure those who are the victims of such incidents have the confidence to come forward and report their experiences to us.”

Alastair Pringle, Scotland director of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “We still have a problem with the under-reporting of all hate crimes in Scotland, whether it’s race, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

“While it is encouraging to see a drop in the last year, recent events are likely to cause another spike, showing just how vulnerable to hate crime some communities are when tragic international events like those in ­Paris occur.”