An increase in hate crime reported to police has spiked by 29% since 2015-2016. In fact, 80,393 hate crimes were recorded by police in England and Wales in 2016-17, mainly targeted towards Muslims.
This is a growing concern for the Home Office as a most religious hate crime – 52% of all offences – was aimed at Muslims in the UK.
British Home Secretary Sajid Javid is of Pakistani and Muslim heritage and recently he disclosed that he has been a victim of hate crime.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Javid said he had also been sent a “Punish a Muslim Day” letter. He further remarked that hate crime leaves a personal effect ‘no matter who you are.’
The Home Secretary also added that it was regrettable to hear reports of hate crime in this day and age. “Incidents of making fun of a differently-abled child or forcefully removing the veil of a Muslim woman are often reported,” he said.
“It is the responsibility of us all to tackle intolerance so that we can live our lives in this great, vibrant country,” he said.
Hate crimes include verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, assault and bullying, as well as damage to property. And the description of the biggest portion of suspects fits the narrative of white, English speaking perpetrators.
Reports have suggested this surge is down to more willingness to come forward, however, experts suggest that this is down to the rise of the far right, people like Tommy Robinson, Nick Griffin and Nigel Farage. The platform to campaign for Brexit and isolate communities and target them as immigrants have led to a rise in a hate-fuelled rhetoric.
Suggesting that the willingness to report the crimes is masking the issue. Some of the increase can be attributed to the ‘willingness to report’ notion. However, since Brexit elections, the indigenous of England & Wales have become more sectarian. And campaign slogans for Brexit, which targeted immigration amongst other things has brought this distinction forward.
Muslims are not the only religion targeted; Jews have been targeted as well. The number of offences targeted at Muslims or Jews was far greater than their respective proportions of the population of England and Wales.
Far-right politics and groups have existed in the United Kingdom since at least the 1930s, evolving into more explicit racial connotations. In the 1960s and 1970s, organisations like the National Front (NF), the British Movement (BM) and British National Party (BNP) that oppose non-white and Muslim immigration. In the modern era, the far right has evolved again to campaign against the presence of non-indigenous ethnic minorities via immigration control and the ‘Being British’
What is also concerning is that despite the increase in recorded crime, the number of completed prosecutions fell from 14,480 in 2016/17 to 14,151 in 2017/18 – a drop 2.3%.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) also said tougher sentences had been handed down in two-thirds of cases after prosecutors highlighted aggravating factors to judges.
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