Almost 600 racial and religious hate crimes in a year in Norfolk
- Credit: Archant
The number of racially and religiously aggravated hate crimes recorded by police in Norfolk soared by 20pc in a year, figures reveal.
Norfolk police recorded 594 offences in 2020, up from 497 in 2019 - of which, 14pc ended in investigations being closed with no suspect identified.
In Suffolk, police recorded 493 racially and religiously aggravated hate crimes, up 12pc from 2019.
The figures are from police-recorded crime data for England and Wales published by the Home Office and cover five types of offences, all of which have a specific racially or religiously motivated element defined by the law.
The offences include racially or religiously aggravated assault, harassment and criminal damage.
The impact of the coronavirus lockdown, along with protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, were two of the main factors named by forces as helping to drive the increase in offences, along with improved recording of hate crimes.
Chief inspector Craig Miller, from Norfolk Constabulary’s community safety team, confirmed the force had seen an increase in hate crimes in 2020 relating to race, homophobia and transphobia.
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He said: "Figures increased towards the end of May following the death of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter movement and reduced towards the end of the year between October and December.
“It is, in part, down to a genuine rise in hate crime while another factor is people having greater confidence to come to police and report these matters."
Chief Insp Miller said the constabulary was continuing to work with underserved communities to ensure people felt comfortable reporting hate crimes.
He said: "Nobody should have to face intimidation because of who they are and it is more important than ever that we stand together in the face of hostility.”
A total of 61,851 racially and religiously aggravated offences were recorded across England and Wales in 2020, up 7pc from 57,825 in 2019. This is also more than double the 28,479 offences recorded in 2013, the first calendar year for which comparable data is available.
How the figures break down
A hate crime is defined as a criminal offence that is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's race religion, sexual orientation or disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender.
In Norfolk, in 2020 the highest number of racially or religiously aggravated hate crimes were reported in Norwich. The city saw 204, almost twice as many as Great Yarmouth, where 104 crimes, the second-highest in the county, were recorded.
The lowest number of incidents, 25, were recorded in north Norfolk.