Most Brits believe hate crime has got worse since EU referendum, poll finds

Leave voters and Remain voters alike are concerned

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Indy Politics

Most British people believe hate crime has got worse since the European Union referendum, a new survey shows.

Pollsters ICM found 58 per cent felt that such crimes had increased since the referendum in June, while 76 per cent believed hate crime was a problem in the UK today.

There was no sign of a serious partisan divide on the issue, with those that voted for Brexit only slightly less likely to believe that hate crime had increased since the referendum. 45 per cent of Leave voters agreed the situation had deteriorated.

The poll however found that a small minority of people in society apparently refuse to acknowledge obvious hate crimes as such.

A hold-out 10 per cent of the population – one in 10 people – says it believes that physically attacking someone because of their race is not a hate crime. 

Somewhat more, 28 per cent, believe that calling someone a racial slur because of their race is not a hate crime. Exactly the same proportion believes that hate crime legislation is an infringement on freedom of speech.

Both these examples are racially aggravated offences under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

Home Office figures released in October suggest that hate crimes soared by 41 per cent after the EU referendum vote.

An analysis of local figures drawn from police databases conducted by The Independent found that increases in such crimes were particularly steep in many areas that voted strongly to leave the European Union.

Speaking at the launch of the Better Than That campaign against hate crime, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Hate crime has no place whatsoever in British society. We will not stand for it. 

“All communities must be able to live their lives free from fear of verbal or physical attack. 

“We’ve some of the strongest laws in the world to protect people from hate crime and this government is taking action to improve support for victims.”