67% of hate crime in Scotland race related, figures show

Humza Yousaf warned against a 'culture of acceptance'. Picture: Getty
Humza Yousaf warned against a 'culture of acceptance'. Picture: Getty
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Two-thirds of all hate crime in Scotland is race related, according to new government figures published today.

A total of 6736 hate crimes were logged by Police Scotland in 2017/18 - a rise of 2.4 per cent from the previous year - and 67 per cent of those were race related.

Disability hate crimes were up 16 per cent though they accounted for four per cent of all hate crimes. Crimes based on sexuality were up 5.8 per cent and accounted for 16 per cent of all hate crime.

The number of crimes rooted in religious hate remained static, though still totalled seven per cent of all hate crimes.

And of the five per cent of crimes were there were multiple aggravators, race and religion were the most common combination. Just one per cent of hate crime involved people with a transgender identity.

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The figures come in a new report “Developing Information on Hate Crime Recorded by the Police in Scotland” which uses information on hate crimes recorded by police on a system known as the Interim Vulnerable Persons Database.

Today Cabinet Secretary for Justice Humza Yousaf said:“We are committed to tackling all forms of bigotry, prejudice and discrimination in Scotland and I welcome the new information in this report. This shows that around two-thirds of hate crimes are race-related, underlining the importance of our on-going efforts to tackle racism wherever it occurs.

“While the overall volume of hate crime dealt with by the police has remained stable, we also know that many incidents go unreported and we are determined to avoid a culture of acceptance.

“We all have a role to play in stamping out all forms of prejudice and ensuring Scotland is the inclusive and forward-thinking society that we want to be. Our message to perpetrators is clear, this kind of hatred will not be tolerated in Scotland.

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“We will continue to support Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority as they work to develop more detailed information on hate crime.”

Last year a government commissioned review on hate crime legislation was published by Lord Bracadale. It recommended adding new ‘statutory aggravations’ relating to gender and age.

The Scottish Parliament has heard this week from campaigners that a specific law to deal with elder abuse should be introduced in Scotland.

The report also recommended that hate laws are simplified, bringing all hate crime legislation together in one place, and for the language used to be updated.

The figures come as a nationwide scheme was launched today to tackle prejudice and discrimination in Scotland’s classrooms. The ‘Inclusion and Diversity Charter Mark’ will recognise the efforts of schools in promoting inclusion and diversity, placing pupil-to-pupil learning at the heart of the project.

The scheme has been developed by young women and will be piloted in Edinburgh and rolled out across the country. The Charter Mark will help schools examine policy, practice and legal obligations on equality for all young people, and Action for Children, the charity behind the scheme, has created ‘Equality Indicators’ for schools so they can mark progress towards the recognition.