Hate crimes soared around Brexit vote: UK police

July 8, 2016 6:02 pm

Vote Leave supporters wear Union
flags, following the result of the EU referendum, outside Downing Street
in London, on June 25, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)

British
police have expressed concern over a sharp increase in the number of
hate crimes perpetrated in the in the weeks before and
after the country’s vote to leave the European Union (EU).

According
to a report published by the ’s National Police Chief’s Council
(NPCC) on Friday, over 3,000 incidents were reported to police across
Britain between June 16 and 30, a 42-percent surge as compared to the
same period in 2015.
“We now
have a clear indication of the increases in the reporting of hate
nationally and can see that there has been a sharp rise in recent
weeks,” said Mark Hamilton, a lead officer with the NPCC.
“This is unacceptable and it undermines the diversity and tolerance we should instead be celebrating,” he added.
Hamilton
also noted that on June 25, the day after the EU referendum result was
released, there was a peak in offenses with 289 reported incidents.
The most common of the 3,076 offenses reported was harassment, whether common assault, verbal abuse or spitting, he said.
British
officials also confirmed the report, saying the vast majority of these
incidents involve abusive and offensive language, adding that
anti-refugee sentiment has also been on the rise in the UK.
In
the latest incident, a Polish man suffered “significant injuries”
following a “racially aggravated assault” by two men on the day the
referendum result was announced.
The
30-year-old victim was walking in the street as two men approached him
and asked if he spoke English, before repeatedly punching and kicking
him.
Police said he sustained an eye injury, a fractured cheekbone and substantial bruising to his body.
British
Prime Minister David Cameron, who announced he would resign in the fall
over the vote, raised the issue in parliament, referring to the
deadly assault as “despicable” graffiti and abuse directed at members of
ethnic minorities.
“We will not stand for hate crime or these kinds of attacks, they must be stamped out,” he told lawmakers.
Hate
crime is defined as an offense, perceived to be motivated by hostility
or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic.
In
the June 23 referendum, about 52 percent of British voters opted to
leave the EU, while roughly 48 percent of the people voted to stay in
the union. More than 17.4 million Britons said the country should leave
the bloc just over 16.14 million others favored remaining in the EU.
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