Hate crime incidents across North East increase following Brexit vote
Hate crimes across the North East have rocketed in the wake of the EU Referendum vote, shock new figures show.
The information was revealed following a Freedom of Information request by housing association Viridian Housing.
The North East saw one of the biggest increase in recorded crimes of all areas at 110%.
In the Northumbria Police force area, there were 171 recorded hate crimes in June this year, compared to just 86 in June 2015, a rise of almost 99%.
Race hate crimes jumped from 73 to 127, with sexuality crimes increasing from four to 20.
In the Durham Police area, the number of hate crimes increased from 16 to 45, a rise of 181%.
Race-related reported incidents in the county also jumped to 34 from 13 in the same month last year.
Any crime that is motivated by hostility on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity can be classed as a hate crime.
In the lead-up to the referendum and in the weeks following, racial and religious minorities in particular were reporting a sharp rise in hate crime incidents – including physical and verbal assaults and racist graffiti.
The UK voted in favour of leaving the European Union, something which is expected to formally take place in 2018.
Head of Northumbria Police’s Safeguarding Department chief superintendent Scott Hall said: “There is no place for hate crime in our region and we will not stand-by and allow our communities to be targeted because of who they are.
“Making sure our communities have support is important to us and we work very closely with our vast and diverse communities across the force to make sure they feel safe and supported and have the confidence to come forward and speak to us about the issues they face.
“It’s simply not right that anyone puts up with being targeted because of who they are and we actively encourage anyone who has been a victim of hate crime to report this to us so we can deal with those responsible and prevent it happening again.
“We have vast and diverse communities across the force area and many places where we have diverse communities living and working side by side peacefully but unfortunately there are a minority, and it is only a minority, who try to disrupt this, and we will make sure swift and robust action is taken against these people.
“Northumbria Police works alongside local authorities to tackle hate crime and encourages anyone experiencing or witnessing hate crimes to report it directly to Northumbria Police via 101 or 999, or via the local third party reporting service ARCH (0800 032 3288) or via the national True Vision website (www.report-it.org.uk).
“Victims of hate crime are provided with additional support via Victims First Northumbria (0800 011 3116) and Neighbourhood Police Teams working in local communities across the Northumbria Police force area.” The release of the figures come as police hunt a woman who racially abused a taxi driver before spitting in his face.
The incident happened around 3.30am on Saturday (JUL 2) when the driver was taking a group of people he had picked up in Newcastle back to Sunderland.
As they were passing through Boldon, a female passenger became racially abusive to the driver.
He continued driving for a short time before stopping and asking the customers to get out.
The woman then spat in his face.