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Report Reveals Level of Hate Crime in Scotland

A recent report published by the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service has given details on race crime in Scotland, and on crime motivated by prejudice related to religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity. It also includes figures for charges under the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012.

Hate Crime Statistics

The Hate Crime in Scotland 2016-17 report reveals that:

  • Racial crime remains the most commonly reported hate crime. There were 3,349 charges reported in 2016-17, 10% fewer than in 2015-16, and the lowest number reported since 2003-04.
  • Sexual orientation aggravated crime is the second most common type of hate crime. There were 1,075 charges reported in 2016-17, an increase of 5% percent. With the exception of 2014-15, there have apparently been year on year increases in charges reported since the legislation introducing this aggravation came into force in 2010.
  • The number of religiously aggravated charges reported, at 673, is 14% higher than in 2015-16. This is the highest number reported since 2012-13.
  • There were 188 charges reported in 2016-17 with an aggravation of prejudice relating to disability, 6% fewer than in 2015-16.
  • There were 377 charges reported in 2016-17 under Section 1 of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012, 32% higher than in 2015-16. This is the highest annual number of charges reported since this legislation came into force. Over one third of the charges (140) related to a single football match, the Rangers v Hibs cup final in May 2016.

Report Welcomed

The Lord Advocate, James Wolffe QC, has welcomed the publication of the report.

“Crime motivated by hatred is not only a wrong against the individual, who should be entitled to live free from violence and intimidation, but is an affront to our collective values as a community, and is particularly liable to create division and fear,” he commented.

“Modern Scotland is characterised by values of tolerance and respect and law enforcement agencies will use the full range of their powers to ensure we uphold these basic values,” he said. “It is vital that victims of hate crime have the confidence to report this type of offending and it is encouraging that in many sections of society this is the case.”

“We continue to work with the police and support organisations to encourage people to come forward in relation to any hate crime,” he added. “I would like to assure anyone affected by hate crime that they live in a society in which law enforcement agencies will ensure any report is treated with the utmost seriousness.”

Hate Crime Reporting Encouraged

Following the publication of the report, the Scottish Government has urged people affected by hate crime to report it to the police as soon as possible so that the necessary action can be taken to deal with these incidents.

“I remain concerned that hate crimes are under-reported and want to encourage anyone who has been subjected to such appalling acts to come forward to ensure that perpetrators can be dealt with appropriately,” explained Minister for Community Safety Annabelle Ewing. “We will keep engaging with community leaders on how best to raise awareness of how such crimes can be reported,  and in the meantime we will continue to work with Police Scotland and others to ensure a robust response to perpetrators.”

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