Reports of hate crime increase across South Yorkshire, figures show

Cases of hate crime have increased across South Yorkshire, according to a new report.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 3:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 4:20 pm

In total, 3,126 hate crimes and hate incidents were reported to South Yorkshire Police in 2019 – nearly 200 more than the year before.

The figures from the force are contained in a Sheffield City Council report, which suggests the biggest proportion of recorded hate crimes and incidents were racially-motivated.

According to the report, ‘the most commonly perceived religion recorded was Muslim’ and ‘hate incidents against perceived Christian, Jewish and other religious beliefs were also recorded’.

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South Yorkshire Police insists it is dedicated to tackling hate crime.

Hate crime is defined as an offence motivated by malice or ill-will towards a person’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity.

The report states there were more than 100,000 hate crimes recorded in England and Wales in 2018-19 – and cases have more than doubled since 2012-13.

Giving possible reasons for the rise, the report adds: “Increases are likely to have been driven by crime recording improvements by the police.

“However, growing awareness of what constitutes a hate crime may also have impacted on the number of recorded offences.

“Short-term genuine rises in hate crime recorded have also been noticed following terrorist attacks and events such as the EU referendum in 2016.”

What is being done to tackle cases of hate crime in South Yorkshire?

Chief Superintendent Sarah Poolman, South Yorkshire Police’s lead for hate crime, said: “Hate crime will not be tolerated across South Yorkshire – and as a force we are continuing to work hard to build confidence within our communities to report these crimes and support those who have been subjected to it.

“In some communities we know that hate crimes are still under-reported which is why, alongside key partner organisations, we are doing a lot of educational work to raise awareness of what a hate crime is and how to report it.

“We know it takes a great deal of courage to report a crime and we want to reassure our residents that we always listen to victims, take all allegations seriously and investigate all hate crimes thoroughly and I would strongly encourage people to report incidents to us.

“Within the force we have dedicated hate crime co-ordinators in every district who actively engage with community support groups and victims to build confidence and resilience at a local level.

“We are also committed to improving our response and investigation.

“All hate crimes are reviewed in order to achieve positive outcomes for victims, and we also regularly seek feedback from victims and community groups through our surveys and local hate crime scrutiny panels to constantly assess and improve the way we do things.

“If you have been a victim of or a witness to a hate crime, please call 101, 999 in an emergency, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or contact a third party reporting centre.

“For details of third party reporting centres and to find out more information about hate crime prevention please visit our website – southyorks.police.uk/find-out/crime-prevention-advice/hate-crime.”

A Sheffield City Council spokesperson added: “The people of Sheffield will see that hate crime and hate crime incidents are being addressed in full partnership across the whole of the city.

“The work of the hate crime coordinators is far reaching throughout Sheffield and this will only grow in the coming months and years ahead.”