The number of hate crime incidents in York has risen year on year – with police saying Brexit and Covid-19 may be partly to blame for the increase.
Hate crimes are most likely to be linked to race, but there are also increases in incidents targeting people with disabilities and the LGBT+ community.
Superintendent Lindsey Butterfield from North Yorkshire Police said the increase in hate crime follow a national rise, but that it also shows that victims “have got the trust and confidence to come forward”.
“We knew that we would see some of those pressures, particularly around Brexit and also around actually Covid itself in terms of where the virus came from.
“We certainly saw some of those incidents within the city in terms of hate based on people’s ethnicity and race linked directly to Covid.”
Figures for York show hate crimes have risen each year, from 83 in 2017 to an estimated total of 163 last year.
‘Not just for the police’
Spt Butterfield said: “Race hate tends to be the more prevalent hate crime that is reported but we are also starting to see an increase in terms of disability and also LGBT+.
“We would always embrace any rise in reporting because actually it’s showing that people have got the trust and confidence to come forward.”
She added that new roles have been created to focus on hate crime. Cllr George Norman asked for information on prosecutions for hate crime incidents.
Sgt Butterfield said a restorative justice pilot is focused on hate crime, adding: “This is not something that the police alone can enforce their way out of and there will be a number of reasons as to why individuals behave in those ways.
“An opportunity to have some form of restorative practice with the victim to really highlight the impact of that behaviour has to be a real positive too.
The council’s community safety team runs a hate crime working group.
For more information visit this North Yorkshire Police web page.