Surge in hate crime as figures show racism and faith incidents up

Graffiti showing 'Ukip' and 'Dirty Polish' spray-painted on the wall near the war memorial at Guildhall Square in Portsmouth
Graffiti showing 'Ukip' and 'Dirty Polish' spray-painted on the wall near the war memorial at Guildhall Square in Portsmouth
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HATE crime has increased more than a quarter in Hampshire, new figures have revealed.

Data obtained under Freedom of Information laws show 219 incidents were reported in June this year, up from 171 incidents in June last year.

The figures, obtained by housing association Viridian Housing, show a 16 per cent increase in race and faith-related crimes in policing areas across the UK.

In June last year in Hampshire, there were 124 race crimes, now up to 156 in the same month this year.

Sexuality-related hate crime increased from 20 to 24, disability crime decreased from 16 to 15 and transgender crime increased from four to nine incidents.

It comes after police said they were investigating after vandals spray-painted ‘Ukip’ and ‘Dirty Polish’ on a wall near the war memorial at Guildhall Square in the wake of Brexit.

Polish student Renata Antczak, 23, told The News she was left feeling scared.

‘I’m scared there will be someone trying to hurt us but on the other hand I’ve got so much support from my local community that I couldn’t really care less if someone doesn’t like me based on my passport,’ she said at the time.

Police in Hampshire said officers did not see a spike in hate crime-related incidents in the week after the historic referendum vote to leave the European Union, compared to three weeks preceding the poll.

Incidents in Sussex have also increased, from 172 to 190. There were 124 racism incidents in June this year, compared to 107 last year.

Faith crime increased by three to 18, while sexuality and disability-related incidents dropped.

Transgender crimes more than doubled from four last June to 11 this year.

Forces are coming under greater scrutiny over the handling of hate crime.

Last week home secretary Amber Rudd announced Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary will carry out a scoping study into forces’ understanding and response to hate crime.

Official figures for the four weeks from mid-June showed that more than 6,000 alleged hate crimes and incidents were reported to police.

The daily rate peaked at 289 reports on June 25 – the day after the referendum result.

A Hampshire police spokesman said hate crime is traditionally unreported.

He added: ‘There are also occasions where even if an incident is not reported by the victim, we can still proceed with the investigation and take steps to bring those responsible to justice.

‘Once charges are made and the case goes to court, our conviction rate is 87 per cent.’