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Racially and religiously aggravated offences in England and Wales hit new high in 2020

RACIALLY and religiously aggravated offences in England and Wales hit a new high last year, according to shocking official figures released today.

A total of 61,851 such offences were recorded by police in 2020, up 7 per cent from fewer than 58,000 cases recorded the previous year. 

This is more than double the 28,479 incidents registered in 2013, the first calendar year for which comparable data is available.

Victim support groups called on police to do more to protect the most vulnerable, as the data also showed a quarter of investigations ended without forces identifying a suspect. 

Improved recording of hate crimes was partly responsible for the increases, but the Metropolitan Police said the Covid-19 pandemic had a direct impact with a rise in reports of racist incidents targetting Chinese and south-east Asian people.

A backlash against those supporting the Black Lives Matter movement was also a significant factor, forces reported.

Victim Support chief executive Diana Fawcett said the independent charity had seen high numbers of hate crime victims seeking help, particularly following the easing of lockdowns.

“We have seen victims who not only live with pain and suffering after facing horrendous abuse, but who also have had their sense of safety, wellbeing and self-worth damaged.

“Victims must have confidence they will get justice from these incidences.”

Echoing those comments, the Equality and Human Rights Commission warned that police forces need to do more to improve the “process and the quality of support for victims.”

The National Police Chiefs’ Council said officers are working with forces to help them “understand and improve the service they provide.”

The figures cover all forces in England and Wales except Greater Manchester Police, which was unable to provide full data from July 2019 to March 2020.

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