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

Eight hate crimes or incidents are reported to the PSNI every day

Racism, sectarianism and homophobia all reported to be on the increase

‘Today’s figures paint a deeply disturbing picture of how hatred continues to grow at a pace across the entire community’ – Patrick Corrigan

Amnesty International has expressed concern at new figures that reveal a disturbingly high rise in the rate of hate crimes in Northern Ireland. The figures were published today (November 25) in a report by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) for the year ending September 30, 2021.

The report shows that 1,231 racist incidents and 864 racist crimes have been recorded by the police over the past 12 months - an increase of 353 more racist incidents and 276 more racist crimes on the previous year.

Once again, racist hate crimes outstripped those with a sectarian motivation, which also saw a year-on-year increase. There were 1,102 sectarian incidents and 802 sectarian crimes - an increase of 233 more sectarian incidents and 174 more sectarian crimes on the previous year.

There were also a further 401 incidents and 265 crimes with a homophobic motivation - a marked increase on the previous year.

In addition to this, there were more than 248 further incidents and 190 crimes reported that had disablist, religious or transphobic motivations.

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

“There is no doubt that Northern Ireland is suffering a hate crime epidemic. Today’s figures paint a deeply disturbing picture of how hatred continues to grow at a pace across the entire community – regardless of age, race or religious background – and yet too little seems to be being done by the PSNI to counter it.

“On average, a racially-motivated incident or crime is reported three times each day – that’s higher than the rate of incidents motivated by sectarianism, despite the relatively small numbers of people from ethnic minority communities in Northern Ireland. That means that a member of an ethnic minority community is vastly more likely to be a victim of hate crime.

“And yet, police figures expose that roughly 90% of race hate crimes reported to them go unpunished. This is totally unacceptable.

“Victims urgently need a 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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