Northern Ireland: Police report reveals 'worrying' rate of hate crime
PSNI report outlines that there were 936 racist incidents and 626 racist crimes recorded by the police in the 12 months to the end of March 2020
More than six hate-motivated incidents or crimes reported to the police every day
‘The decline in incidents motivated by sectarianism is a welcome trend… but [there have still been] 888 incidents too many’ – Patrick Corrigan
Amnesty International has expressed concern at the “worryingly high” figures recorded for hate crimes and incidents in Northern Ireland. The figures were published in a report today by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), which tracked reported crimes and incidents over the past 15 years.
The report, “Trends in Hate Motivated Incidents and Crimes Recorded by the Police in Northern Ireland 2004/05 to 2019/2020”, reveals that there were 936 racist incidents and 626 racist crimes recorded by the police in the 12 months to the end of March 2020 - a slight decrease on the previous year, but still one of the highest figures since police records began in 2004/05.
In addition to this, the last year saw 888 sectarian incidents and 640 sectarian crimes reported to the police, as well as 272 incidents and 196 crimes with homophobic motivation.
The number of reported racially-motivated hate incidents in Northern Ireland has overtaken and exceeded the number of sectarian incidents since 2016/17.
Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director, said:
“These hate crime figures continue at worryingly high rates. Overall, there are more than six hate-motivated incidents or crimes reported to the police every day in Northern Ireland.
“While the number of incidents motivated by racism has declined slightly in the last year, these figures remain persistently high and exceed the number of such incidents reported to the police back in 2004/05 when statistics began.
“The rate of incidents motivated by racism have consistently outstripped those motivated by sectarianism since 2015/2016, despite the relatively small numbers of people in Northern Ireland from ethnic minority backgrounds.
“The notable decline in incidents motivated by sectarianism since records began is a welcome long-term trend, with the number of incidents halved since 2005/06. However, that is still 888 incidents too many, with every occasion causing someone to feel fear and intimidation.
“The frequency of homophobic hate crime in Northern Ireland remains a disturbing long-term trend, while incidents motivated by transphobia have doubled in the last year – a very worrying development which must be addressed by the police and the wider community.”