The North East saw one of the highest increases in race crime in the country following last summer’s EU referendum, new analysis has shown.
Record levels of the crime were reported by three-quarters of police forces in England and Wales with, in some areas, the number of incidents jumping by more than 50% between July and September.
Northumbria Police recorded 394 incidents – up 48% – with Durham Constabulary reporting 66 cases - a rise of 16%.
A human rights organisation has said the country should prepare for the possibility of further spikes in offences once the Brexit process has begun.
The figures were compiled by the Press Association.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said the findings suggested a small number of people used the Brexit vote “to legitimise inexcusable racism and prejudice”.
The charity Victim Support said that more needed to be done to encourage victims to come forward.
David Isaac, chairman of the EHRC, said it “must be sensible to prepare for any possible spikes” in hate crime once Brexit negotiations got under way.
“The vast majority of people who voted to leave the European Union did so because they believed it was best for Britain and not because they are intolerant of others,” he said.
“It is clear, however, that a small minority of people used the Brexit vote to legitimise inexcusable racism and prejudice. We cannot allow such intolerable acts of hate to be condoned or repeated.”