Huge rise in anti-immigrant hate crimes caused by EU referendum, police chiefs warn

A flood of hate crimes against immigrants has been reported since the EU referendum

Jon Stone
Monday 11 July 2016 11:42 BST
Ukip leader Nigel Farage unveils the party's 'breaking point' poster during the EU referendum campaign
Ukip leader Nigel Farage unveils the party's 'breaking point' poster during the EU referendum campaign (Rex)

Police believe a sharp rise in recorded hate crime was caused by the nature of the European Union referendum debate.

Figures released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council show a 42 per cent spike in reported incidents on the same time last year between 16 and 30 June.

In the capital the Metropolitan Police has recorded an average of three hate crimes an hour since the referendum

Mark Hamilton, head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said the spike was likely the “worst” on record and that it was likely down to the referendum.

“I believe the referendum debate has led to an increase in reporting of hate crime,” he told the Guardian newspaper.

“It is very clear in the last couple of weeks that more people have been aware of experiencing such incidents than we have had before.”

The incidents are “primarily harassment, common assault and other violence”, according to the police chiefs.

Incidents reported on social media tend to involve members of the public telling people speaking foreign languages – or simply people who are not white – to “leave” or “go home”.

Others involve racist anti-immigrant graffiti, such as that daubed on the Polish cultural centre in Hammersmith, west London.

Vote Leave, the official campaign to leave the EU, placed immigration at the centre of its campaign.

Campaigners made a number of false claims, including that Turkey was likely to join the EU and that a significant portion of its population would move to the UK.

Nigel Farage, Ukip’s leader, unveiled a poster that suggested Britain was at “breaking point” due to an influx of Syrian refugees. Britain has taken a negligible number of Syria refugees compared to other countries in the EU.

The Government has pledged to do more to tackle the rise in hate crime, with both David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn condemning the attacks in a rare show of unity.

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