London: Britain’s police forces have recorded 331 hate crime incidents since Brexit, a five-fold increase in such cases after the EU referendum last week. The UK’s National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) said today that 331 hate crime incidents were reported to its online hatecrime reporting site True Vision since last Thursday, compared with a weekly average of 63.
“The national community tensions team has also analysed reports from forces, which today show an increase in community tension directed at the migrant community since the referendum,” said Sara Thornton, head of the NPCC.
“In a number of forces, migrants are reporting verbal abuse, negative social media commentary including xenophobic language, anti-migrant leafleting and, in very limited numbers, physical assaults. All of these incidents are under active investigation,” she said.
There have been widespread reports of xenophobic incidents across the UK since the referendum, including alleged racist abuse of a man on a tram in Manchester and the daubing of a Polish community centre in west London with racist graffiti.
Other organisations that collate reports have also noted an increase in incidents of Islamophobia and other hate crimes.
The NPCC has directed all police forces to provide weekly hate crime figures to assess the extent of the problem. A senior Indian-origin Church of England official, Arun Arora, warned that the rise in hate crimes since the EU referendum could lead to fascism.
“The rise in hate crimes over recent days has echoes. They remind of how the seeds of fascism, once sown and left to flourish, can grow into a poison fruit, leading to a society which scapegoats, persecutes and dehumanises,” Arora, the church’s director of communications and himself an ordained priest, said in a sermon this week.
Outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron has condemned the rise in such attacks, saying the UK will now “stand for hate crime or these kinds of attacks”.