Is Scotland different?

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A couple of weeks ago I was involved in a conversation re the increases in homophobic hate crime across the UK and the general perception that it hadn’t happened in Scotland.

The article which set it off was in the Guardian on the 8th October: Homophobic attacks in UK rose 147% in three months after Brexit vote, which also referred back to a previous piece on 28th September reporting figures from the National Police Chiefs’ Council showing a 49% rise in hate crime incidents compared with the previous year during the last week of July in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We had been reassured somewhat as the Scotsman had quoting a 15% drop on the 22nd September: Hate crimes in Scotland ‘fell after Brexit vote’ in comparison to a 14% increase in the UK as a whole.

But it was getting a bit confusing as the general term hate crime had been used, were we comparing apples with oranges? And as someone had pointed out Pink News in June 2014 had reported Homophobic hate crimes increase by 22% in Scotland. Did we have a relatively higher baseline?

After putting a request out on Twitter, I was pointed in the direction of this: Commission welcomes rise in LGBT hate crime reports from June this year. Yes, you read that right a welcomed increase in reported cases, but it is believed that people now feel more confident in reporting these incidents.

It summarised:

The Scottish Government new data on reported hate crime and prosecutions showed a 20% rise in homophobic incidents, a 14% rise in disability related incidents, a smaller rise in religiously motivated incidents and a small drop in racially motivated reporting. In total 1,020 homophobic crimes were reported to the police in 2014-15, an increase of 20% on last year.

But what has happened since the referendum? Being nosy I put a FOI request in to Police Scotland and they got back to me today.

I asked for 3 months before and after the EU referendum and to aid in comparison the same time periods from 2015. I also asked for the types of hate crime to be identified.

2015

2016

Aggravator

90 days prior to 23rd June 2015

90 days after 23rd June 2015 90 days prior to EU Referendum 90 days after EU Referendum
Disability

76

73

60

60

Sexual Orientation

297

316

289

306

Racist

1243

1346

1237

1282

Religion

156

178

210

196

Transgender

12

16

11

24

Total

1784 1929 1807

1868

*All statistics are provisional and should be treated as management information. All data have been extracted from Police Scotland internal systems and are correct as at 11th October 2016.  Please note that the data above is a count on the aggravators attached to the Crime Report. As a consequence there can be multiple aggravators for each crime report. Therefore the data does not reflect the number of crimes committed.

I’m have to apologise now but I’m putting the figures into graphs. It makes it easier okay? Please take note there are variations in the y-axis.

Total reported incidents

total
Total

Total incidents for the combined 2015 time periods is 3713 compared to 3675 in 2016. About a 1% decrease. Not brilliant, but not a huge upsurge.

There is a slight increase post referendum  which mirrors a similar increase when we look in 2015. Is this due to the time of year? Longer days? People interacting more?

Disability

disability
Disability

What can I say? There is a drop compared to last year and this does not appear to be influenced by the referendum. Hopefully an actual improvement and not a just a drop in reporting.

Racist

racist
Racist

There is an increase after referendum same as for the same period for the year previously. There is a small year on year drop in each period.

  • 90 days before 23rd June 2015 was 1243 and in 2016 1237 – 0.5% drop
  • 90 days after 23rd June 2015 was 1345 and in 2016 1282 – 4.7% drop.

I’m not going to go yay! It’s not good enough.

But when I look at the figures coming out from England, Wales an Northern Ireland and appreciate it could be so much worse:

  • 1,863 incidents during the last week in July – 49% increase when compared with the previous year.
  • The week after saw a record 58% increase in recorded incidents to 1,787

Religious

religion
Religious

I have NO IDEA on this one without a breakdown of what religions are involved because I doubt it’s as straight forward as it could be.

Sexual Orientation

sexual-orientation
Sexual orientation

Again an increase in the post June time periods but a year on year drop.

  • 90 days before 23rd June 2015 was 297 and in 2016 289 – 2.7% drop
  • 90 days after 23rd June 2015 was 316 and in 2016 306 – 3.2% drop.

Transgender

transgender
Transgender reported incidents

Reported transgender hate crime has had an increase post EU Referendum.

Due to the comparitively low-level of reports there are “only” 7 more incidents in the combined times requested in 2015 (28) & 2016 (35). I hope it doesn’t need saying that I would like to see a big fat zero in each and every one of these categories.

  • 90 days before 23rd June 2015 was 12 and in 2016 11
  • 90 days after 23rd June 2015 was 16 and in 2016 24

Again I hope these increases are due to an increased confidence in reporting. My instinct is that there are still many incidents in all these categories not being counted.

I believe that we can and must always work to reduce these numbers and that in general – at least going by reported incidents – we are heading in the right direction. I also think the overwhelming condemnation of hate crimes and public support given out to our minorities is maybe making a difference. I hope so.

 

Featured image by the fabulous @DefiAye

 

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