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Northern Ireland: Police figures reveal ‘deeply worrying’ rise in hate crimes

New PSNI report shows increase in sectarian, disability and transphobic hate crimes

On average, more than eight hate-motivated incidents reported to police every day

‘The police - and the Northern Ireland Executive when it returns - need to get a grip on the scourge of hate crime’ - Patrick Corrigan

Responding to a rise in the number of hate crimes revealed in statistics released today by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director, said:

“These figures show a deeply worrying rise in the levels of hate crimes in Northern Ireland.

“It’s genuinely alarming that on average more than eight hate-motivated incidents or crimes were reported every day - one every three hours - and that the ugly face of sectarianism is on the rise again.

“Although there’s been a slight fall in racism-motivated crimes across the country, they remain among the highest reported since records began and rose significantly in Belfast.

“The police - and the Northern Ireland Executive when it returns - need to get a grip on the scourge of hate crime.

“It’s unacceptable that the vast majority of these cases fail to end in a prosecution or even a warning, the authorities must do much more to stop this rise in hate crimes and give victims the justice they deserve.”

Worrying figures

According to the report, in the year to March 2023, 1,238 sectarian incidents and 921 sectarian crimes were reported to the police, which is a year-on-year increase of 171 sectarian incidents and 141 sectarian crimes. The level of sectarian incidents in 2022/23 is the second-highest year recorded since 2015/16.

In the same period there were 1,221 racist incidents and 880 racist crimes recorded by the police, one of the highest figures since police records began in 2004/05, even though this represents a slight decrease on the previous year.

There were also 435 incidents and 290 homophobia-motivated crimes, while disability hate crimes rose from 93 to 102. These are the highest figures for disability crimes since recording them began in 2005/06. According to the report, transphobic incidents increased from 65 to 72.

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