Hate crimes up in the U.K.

Hate Crimes Up By 52 Percent In London In Brexit Aftermath

In the week following the Brexit referendum vote to leave the EU, around three hate crimes were reported each hour to the Metropolitan Police in London. The trend appears to be continuing.

According to the police, between Friday 24 June – the morning of the Brexit announcement – and Saturday July 2, there were a total of 599 hate crime incidents reported to police. This reportedly works out to an average of 67 a day, compared with the previous average of 44 reported hate crimes per day, representing an increase of 52 percent.

These figures are just the latest news pointing to a surge in hate crimes since the Brexit referendum, a surge blamed on some Leave campaigners for stoking anti-immigrant sentiment.

Reportedly on June 30, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) reported that hate crimes had increased nationwide by 400 percent in the week following the Brexit vote.

As reported by the International Business Times, on July 1, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury said, “Since the referendum, we have seen an out-welling of poison and hatred that I cannot remember in this country for very many years.”

According to the Met’s head of community engagement, the reports of increasing hate crime are making people feel more anxious and some hesitant in coming forward to report them.

Commander Mark Chishty said, “We are carefully analyzing every incident to see what is happening across London and these figures may change as victims come forward and report incidents after the event.”

As reported by Sky News, Chishty continued by saying, “The vast majority of these incidents involve abusive and offensive language. I would strongly urge both victims and witnesses to come forward and report any such incidents to police as soon as possible.”

According to Scotland Yard Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the increase in hate crime reports since the Brexit referendum has led to London police adopting a more proactive approach, with police providing a more visible presence in areas thought to be worst affected.

Among the incidents reported in London, there has been the spray-painting of a Polish community center and vandalism of German cars in the city. Muslims and Romanians have also been targeted on a regular basis.

In other areas of the country, Avon and Somerset Police are appealing for witnesses, after a Polish man suffered “significant injuries” in a racially aggravated assault by two men on the day the Brexit result was announced.

Reportedly the man, in his 30s, was walking along at around 6 pm when two men approached him, asking if he spoke English. They then repeatedly punched and kicked him, leading to a potentially life-changing eye injury, fractured cheekbone, and substantial bodily bruising.

The Avon and Somerset Police also say the number of hate crime incidents in that area has doubled since the Brexit referendum results were announced.

As reported by the Independent, an official report published last year said there were an estimated 222,000 hate crimes on average per year in England and Wales and that the most commonly reported factor involved was race.

David Thompson, Chief Constable of the West Midlands Police has also warned that hate crime is likely to be an “ongoing issue” following the vote for the U.K. to leave the EU. Thompson had already promised a “zero tolerance” response against hate crime within days of the EU vote last month.

As reported by RT News, Spanish immigrants have also been hit by hate crime since the Brexit vote.

Jesus Miguel Ruiz Galvan told RT that he works for a moving company in the U.K. and was recently harassed by a British man. Reportedly, the man asked Galvan to move his truck, and while his colleague looked for an alternative parking spot, the man said to the Spaniard, “Don’t worry. You will return home soon… that’s what we voted for.”

Reportedly a Spanish School in Notting Hill in London was also affected after racist graffiti was scrawled on the walls, reading “Foreign pack.”

Reportedly of the 500 students at the school, around 85 percent are of Spanish nationality. The Vicente Cañada Blanch Institute has now promised to install additional security cameras in the school.

In the meantime, London’s new mayor, Sadiq Khan, has spoken up for foreigners and minorities in the city in an effort to keep the peace.

There have also been a number of demonstrations and protests in London and other major U.K. cities by anti-racist campaigners, standing in solidarity with immigrants and minorities in the country.

[Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]