Reports of hate crimes across schools in England almost doubled during the Brexit referendum campaign last year, according to a new report released on Saturday (6).
Figures obtained by the Times Educational Supplement(TES) as part of Freedom of Information requests shows that in the three months surrounding the 23 June vote — May, June and July last year — 30 of England’s police forces recorded a 54 per cent increase in reported hate crimes and incidents in schools.
There was an 89 per cent rise in police reports of hate crime in May 2016, the month before the referendum was held, compared to the same month the previous year.
During the period last year that covered the vote in favour of Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) and the US presidential election, there was a 48 per cent increase in reported hate crimes and incidents in schools, the figures show.
Stand Up to Racism group said: “Recent figures showing a spike in reported hate crime in school during the referendum campaign is a cause for massive concern”.
“The referendum campaign was marred by a toxic and negative debate around immigration which a small minority have taken as a green light to commit racist attacks and hate crimes,” it said.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said the numbers were “far too high”, particularly when concentrated among young people.
Assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton, the NPCC’s lead for hate crime, said: “We know that national and global events have the potential to trigger short-terms rises in hate crime and we saw this following the EU Referendum last year.
“Police forces took a robust approach to these crimes and reporting returned to previously seen levels. Clearly any hate crime is unacceptable and these numbers are still far too high.”
“We have increased the central reporting and monitoring functions to enable us to recognise spikes earlier. This will be used to assess any threats that may arise and inform local police activity,” Hamilton said.
“Particularly among young people, this kind of abuse undermines the diversity and tolerance that we should be celebrating,” he said.