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Northern Ireland: Concern at hate crime 'epidemic' as PSNI report figures rise

Eight hate crimes or incidents reported to PSNI every day

Racism, sectarianism and homophobia all reported on the increase

Amnesty International has expressed concern at new figures that show a disturbingly high rise for hate crime in Northern Ireland. The figures were published today in a report by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) for the year ending June 30 2021.

The report shows there were 1,142 racist incidents and 839 racist crimes recorded by the police in the last 12 months - an increase of 251 more racist incidents and 238 more racist crimes on the previous year, with almost half (511) of the race hate crimes taking place in Belfast.

Once again, racist hate crimes outstripped those with a sectarian motivation, which also saw a year-on-year increase. There were 1,080 sectarian incidents and 804 sectarian crimes, and a further 383 incidents and 262 crimes with a homophobic motivation, a marked increase on the previous year.

There were also more than 200 further incidents reported that had disablist, religious or transphobic motivations.

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director, said:

“Northern Ireland is suffering a hate crime epidemic. Overall, there are eight hate-motivated incidents or crimes reported to the police every single day in Northern Ireland. That is a disturbing picture and deeply distressing to victims.

“One average, there is a racism-motivated incident or crime reported three times per day – almost as high as the figures for incidents motivated by sectarianism, despite the relatively small numbers of people in Northern Ireland from ethnic minority communities.

“Yet, police figures show that about 90% of race hate crimes reported to them are going unpunished. This is unacceptable.

“The whole community deserves a much more effective response from the police, and from legislators who have left Northern Ireland’s hate crime laws lagging behind the rest of the UK.”

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