Data on the number of hate crimes reported to and recorded by the police across England, Wales and Northern Ireland were published for the first time on 30 November, partly with the intention of encouraging people to come forward with details of such crimes, which are widely believed to have been under-reported in the past.
The statistics relate to the calendar year 2009 and were collated by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), an independent and professionally-led strategic body with a membership of 338 Chief Police Officers.
During the year the police services noted 52,028 crimes where the victim, or any other person, perceived the offence to be motivated by hostility on the grounds of race, religious conviction, sexual orientation, disability or because a person was transgender.
83.5% of these crimes involved race hatred, 4.0% religion or faith, 9.2% sexual orientation, 0.6% transgender, and 2.7% disability. At 2,083, religious hate crimes were up by more than a fifth on 2008, although better reporting may account for some or perhaps even all of this increase. The boundaries between race and religion/faith hate crimes are presumably quite blurred on occasion.
Religious hate crimes were spatially concentrated. Indeed, 20 of 44 police forces recorded fewer than 10 cases and Sussex none at all. The largest numbers of such crimes were in London (36.4%), Greater Manchester (17.2%), Lancashire (6.0%), West Midlands (5.1%), and Thames Valley (4.9%). This distribution might lead one to suspect that the crimes were preponderantly Islamophobic, but this can be mere speculation.
It should be noted that the figures for anti-Semitic hate crimes were apparently included in the race rather than religion/faith category, although they were also separately enumerated. There were 703 anti-Semitic crimes in 2009, 54.8% of them in London, 28.2% in Greater Manchester, and 7.3% in Hertfordshire – all areas of Jewish concentration. 24 police forces had no anti-Semitic hate crimes.
This anti-Semitic total was 221 less than the 924 cases previously reported by the Community Security Trust (CST) for 2009. The discrepancy mainly reflects the fact that data for non-crime incidents are excluded from ACPO’s statistics, being only held locally, whereas they are included in the CST’s review. Also, the latter covered 30 cases in Scotland, a home nation not within the purview of ACPO.
The data table showing breakdowns by police force will be found at: