Lincolnshire is just one of eight areas in England to record a fall in hate crimes reported to police, but instances have spiked more than 100% since the EU referendum, according to Home Office data.
The Home Office’s hate crime summary shows that nationally there were 114,958 offences in 2020/21 where one or more of the centrally monitored hate crime strands were deemed to be a motivating factor.
This is a 9% increase on the 124,091 figure from 2019/20, and it has been attributed to better recording methods used by police, as well as greater awareness around the subject of hate crimes.
The report says that there have been spikes in racially and/or religiously aggravated hate crime since April 2015, with the EU referendum, 2017 terrorist attacks and 2020 Black Lives Matter protests cited as contributing factors.
In Lincolnshire, there was a 13% drop in hate crime reports from 2019/20 to 2020/21, with the figure falling from 759 to 664. It was the second biggest dip in the country, behind only City of London which soared away in the lead at 50%.
This makes Lincolnshire one of just eight areas in the entire country to report a fall in hate crimes rather than a spike, but the 2020/21 figure is still the second highest since records began in 2012/13. There has been a 122% increase in hate crimes in the county since 2015/16.
Lincolnshire Police’s lead for race, Chief Superintendent Jon McAdam, told The Lincolnite that the drop in hate crime shows the “united front” of the local community in our county.
He said: “Everyone has really pulled together in solidarity, and people coming forward they way they have showed not just the community spirit, but also that racial offence is intolerable – and that is reflected in these stats.
“As a force we have engaged on a different level, right up to our own Assistant Chief Constable [Kerrin Wilson] showing her presence at the Black Lives Matter marches in 2020. We have increased our engagement and understanding of marginalised groups.
“However, we recognise there is still a lot to do. As much as these statistics are welcome, showing Lincolnshire as a safe and welcome place to live and visit, it’s still important to show open communication and support to everyone in the community.”
Lincolnshire is ranked among the best in the country for low hate crime statistics, with figures revealing that between 56-92 people per 100,000 in the population being reported for hate crimes in 2020/21.
A similar pattern can be seen when the crime rates are broken down further, with just 1-4 people per 100,000 showing up in stats for religion-based hate crime, 6-10 people per 100,000 for disability discrimination, and 16-17 where sexual orientation was the target of the hate crime.
Chief Supt McAdam added: “I speak about unity and spirit a lot because Lincolnshire has it in bucket loads, we are all a really tight-knit community.”
Discussing the spike in hate crimes following major social issues and events, he said: “There is always going to be a correlation when something so emotionally fuelled happens within the difficult and changing political landscape, but there’s a recognition that community pulls together.
“At Lincolnshire Police we have promoted that ethos, and while recording and reporting of hate crimes has increased, what is most important for us is to have the right, robust response to each and every case.”
As for Humberside, which covers North and North East Lincolnshire, that region recorded a 27% rise in reported hate crimes, soaring from 1,341 to 1,699 in 2020/21.
The data also analysed how victims of hate crime feel after being subjected to it, with 42% saying they felt a loss of confidence or an increase in vulnerability, compared with 19% who said that for all crimes.
34% of hate crime victims suffered from anxiety or panic attacks, showing that these victims suffer emotionally and psychologically more than in general crime cases.
As for those prosecuted for hate crimes, the annual conviction rate has remained relatively stable in recent years, but reached its highest level on record in 2020/21, with an 87% success rate.
In 2019/20 there were 10,950 prosecutions and 9,340 convictions, while the most recent year saw 9,263 convictions from 10,679 prosecutions – equating to a -2.5% change.
Of 3,053 people with a known ethnicity that were prosecuted for hate crimes in England and Wales in 2020, 2,416 of them were white, while 294 were black and 215 were Asian.
Chief Supt McAdam concluded with a message to anyone in Lincolnshire who feels they have been the subject of a hate crime, encouraging people to not be afraid to come forward.
He said: “The message is simple really, we are here to support any and everybody, and we encourage them to make contact with us. Anyone in the police service is open and committed to supporting victims, and we will take every report seriously.
“Hate crime is very serious and comes with serious connotations that can escalate. You don’t need to suffer or put up with it, we have a first class system in place and it is important to come forward and share your experience so it can be dealt with accordingly.”