Hate crimes against transgender people hits record high in England and Wales as police record 11% rise in the last year
Hate crimes against transgender people have hit a record high in England and Wales, as police have recorded an 11% rise in the last year.
While the overall number of hate crimes recorded by police in England and Wales has fallen year-on-year for the first time in a decade, those motivated by religious and transgender hate have risen.
A total of 145,214 hate crime offences were recorded in the year ending March 2023, down 5% from 153,536 in the previous 12 months, the Home Office said. The total had previously risen every year since 2012/13.
There were 4,732 transgender hate crimes recorded in the year ending in March 2023. In the accompanying notes published alongside the statistics yesterday, the Home Office said the rise could be due to transgender issues being ‘heavily discussed’ by politicians, the media and on social media.
When last year’s statistics were published and showed a rise in transgender hate crimes – albeit a larger one of more than 50% in a year – the Home Office’s accompanying notes mentioned only social media as being a possible factor.
This week’s Conservative Party conference in Manchester saw various references to transgender issues made in speeches, including Health Secretary Steve Barclay who proposed a ban on trans women from female NHS wards and Home Secretary Suella Braverman who hit out at the ‘highly controversial idea’ of gender ideology.
Ms Braverman’s comments prompted Conservative chairman of the London Assembly Andrew Boff to shout out, and then be hauled out of the conference centre, before telling reporters that Ms Braverman’s speech was ‘making our Conservative Party look transphobic and homophobic’.
Responding to the figures, LGBTQ+ group Stonewall criticised political leaders for not having acted ‘seriously or quickly enough’ against hate crime, adding that ‘many of them are filling the public domain with toxic language that dehumanises LGBTQ+ people’.
There were 101,906 race hate crimes in 2022/23, down 6% from the previous year (108,476).
Victim Support said ‘falling public trust in the police is a real issue’ and suggested this may have contributed to the overall fall in the number of police-recorded hate crimes.
Becca Rosenthal, national hate crime lead at the charity, said: ‘Those we support increasingly tell us that they are reluctant to approach the police, so these figures could simply reflect less people reporting to the police.
‘Given this, independent support services for victims have never been more important.’
Religious hate crimes were up by 9% to 9,387 offences. The most commonly targeted group when it came to religious hate crime were Muslims, accounting for 39% of religious hate crime offences.
This was followed by Jewish people, who were targeted in 17% of religious hate crimes, followed by Christian (7%), Hindu and Sikh (both 3%).
In 22% of these offences the targeted religion was not known.
This year’s total figures do not include Devon and Cornwall Police, who were unable to provide information for 2022/23, the Home Office said.
The department said the overall fall was ‘largely driven by a decrease in racially or religiously aggravated public fear, alarm or distress when flagged as a hate crime’, which was down 8%, from 50,866 to 46,780 offences.
The Home Office suggested this might be linked to new interim guidance published last year which ‘may have led to greater scrutiny of the threshold of what constitutes a criminal offence of public fear, alarm or distress’.
The guidance by the College of Policing on the recording of non-crime hate incidents (NCHIs) instructed officers to consider whether there was genuine hostility in the incident or whether it could be considered freedom of speech or thought.
A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘There is no place for hate in our society, it does not reflect the values of modern Britain, and we remain committed to ensuring these abhorrent offences are stamped out.
‘We are pleased there has been an overall reduction in hate crimes recorded by police, and the numbers of sexual orientation, race and disability hate crimes all fell. But any instance is one too many.
‘We expect the police to fully investigate these hateful attacks and make sure the cowards who commit them feel the full force of the law.’