Police figures show transphobic hate crimes soared in 2014 - but real number of attacks likely to be much higher

Met Police recorded a 44 per cent increase in 2014

Heather Saul
Friday 26 December 2014 13:31 GMT
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July

Some of the UK's biggest police forces have seen transphobic hate crimes soar this year - with the true number of attacks likely to be much higher.

Police data reveals victims have been subjected to assaults, verbal abuse and harassment on the street.

The Metropolitan Police saw offences against transgender people soar by 44 per cent in 2014 with 95 crimes recorded, up from 66 last year and 59 in 2012.

They included 53 harassment offences this year, 17 common assaults, seven grievous bodily harm (GBH) offences and seven assaults with injury, as well as rape, robbery, criminal damage and burglary.

Eleven forces revealed they recorded more transphobic hate crimes between January and November than the whole of 2013, according to figures released to the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act.

However, a leading charity warned crimes against transgender people were "massively under-reported", meaning the actual number may be much higher.

Serge Nicholson, from the charity Galop, which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, said a third of trans people in the UK received transphobic abuse every year - thr second highest of any EU country.

"As much as 80 per cent of transphobia is not reported. So the rise in transphobic police recording can be viewed as encouraging, though it leaves us with mixed feelings. One transphobic hate crime is one too many."

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) acknowledged transphobic hate crimes had been "significantly under-reported".

Chief Constable Jane Sawyers, the national policing lead for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues, said targeting someone because of their gender identity is "totally unacceptable".

"We strongly encourage anyone who has experienced transphobic hate crime to report incidents to the police," she said.

Avon and Somerset Police recorded 38 transgender hate crimes between January and November, up from 22 in 2013 and 12 in 2012.

Meanwhile, Merseyside Police recorded 32 hate crimes that were as classed as transphobic or motivated by a person's gender between January and November, double the number of offences reported in the previous year.

In Suffolk, where police have recorded 63 transphobic hate crimes since 2012, a group of children aged seven to nine verbally abused a transgender person, a rock was used to smash the sunroof of another victim's car and an assault was carried out with a blunt object.

In South Yorkshire, where 16 transphobic hate crimes were recorded since 2012, a transgender person had a brick thrown at them in the street and another victim was punched in the face after having their wig and earrings pulled off.

Meanwhile, in Lincolnshire, where police have recorded 15 transphobic hate crimes since 2012, incidents included two people who were spat at and verbally abused for being transgender and another where transphobic graffiti was sprayed on a house.

Greater Manchester, South Wales, Nottinghamshire, Durham, Kent, Norfolk, West Mercia Police, Northumbria and Gloucestershire police forces also saw transphobic hate crimes rise between January and November compared to last year.

Additional reporting by PA

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