Press Release: 40% increase in racist crime in just four years

Sunday, 27 April, 2008

DAVID RUFFLEY MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR POLICE REFORM: '40% INCREASE IN RACIST CRIME IN JUST FOUR YEARS DEMONSTRATES TEN YEARS OF GOVERNMENT FAILURE ON COMMUNITY COHESION'

Shadow Police Reform Minister, David Ruffley MP said: 'These latest Home Office statistics I have unearthed show that between 2002/03 and 2006/07 there has been a 40 per cent increase in the number of racially aggravated offences, from 31,436 in 2002/03 to 43,780 in 2006/07. Especially big increases were seen:

• in Merseyside where the numbers racially aggravated offences has increased by 94% from 734 in 2002/03 to 1,423 in 2006/07;

• in Greater Manchester where the numbers racially aggravated offences has increased by 56% from 2,353 in 2002/03 to 3,677 in 2006/07;

• in South Yorkshire where the numbers racially aggravated offences has increased by 330% from 242 in 2002/03 to 1,037 in 2006/07; and

• in Hampshire where the numbers racially aggravated offences has increased by 320% from 317 in 2002/03 to 1,326 in 2006/07.

These crime figures show the Government's failure to improve community cohesion and crack down on racism.'

Notes to editors

A Government Citizenship survey published on the 17th January 2008 showed an increase in perceptions of levels of racism. In 2001 43% of people surveyed felt that there is now more racial prejudice in Britain than five years ago. The latest figures for this show that 56% feel this is the case. In the same survey 23% of 24-35 year olds say people of different backgrounds get on worse now than they did five years ago. The survey also showed that one in five people do not mix outside their own ethnic or religious group.

This represents a severe failure in Government policy. As part of the 2004 Spending Review, the Government had agreed the key cross-Government Public Service agreement (PSA) 'Reducing perceptions of racial discrimination'.

In January 2005, the Government launched their Community Cohesion Strategy. The Home Office document 'Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society' set out the Government's community cohesion strategy. It centred itself around policies including extending anti-discrimination legislation, reducing inequalities in public services, introducing Citizenship Days and tackling race crime. In launching the report Charles Clarke, the then Home Secretary said:

'We also want to encourage a sense of common belonging and shared identity so that in Britain today no communities or individuals feel left behind. We will do that by educating young people, integrating new immigrants, facing down racism and extremism and encouraging an understanding of our strength in diversity as a country.'

The Government have failed this challenge.

The followup report two years on, 'Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society Two Years' on stated:

'Racism and hate crimes are unacceptable, and can seriously damage community cohesion by creating or exacerbating tensions between different communities.'

Divisions between Britain's ethnic groups are deeper than ever - and are fuelling rising levels of racial violence. In its September 2007 study, the Commission for Racial Equality in their document, 'A Lot Done, A Lot To Do, Our Vision For An Integrated Britain', that

'segregation - residentially, socially and in the workplace - is growing and extremism, both political and religious, is on the rise as people become increasingly disillusioned and disconnected from each other. '

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Racially Aggravated Offences

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many racially-motivated crimes were committed in each police force area in each of the last five years. [198464]

Mr. Coaker: The information requested is given in the following table.

Total racially-aggravated offences( 1 ) recorded by police force area in England and Wales, 2002-03 to 2006-07

Police force area 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

Avon and Somerset 900 1,256 1,431 1,326 1,337

Bedfordshire 169 207 266 339 308

Cambridgeshire 410 384 398 322 351

Cheshire 376 400 438 569 557

Cleveland 145 251 288 528 464

Cumbria 69 116 186 232 219

Derbyshire 560 600 474 494 492

Devon and Cornwall 496 588 694 818 801

Dorset 177 166 254 214 291

Durham 371 138 154 258 304

Dyfed-Powys 96 126 154 118 167

Essex 558 760 807 796 922

Gloucestershire 210 167 215 283 326

Greater Manchester 2,353 2,864 3,203 3,398 3,677

Gwent 193 240 233 289 269

Hampshire 317 415 570 1,120 1,326

Hertfordshire 343 730 859 985 954

Humberside 302 438 488 417 655

Kent 547 480 609 798 935

Lancashire 860 1,085 1,183 1,363 1,238

Leicestershire 809 809 980 1,007 1,055

Lincolnshire 136 179 169 200 143

London, City of 71 60 48 75 83

Merseyside 734 943 1,061 1,420 1,423

Metropolitan police 9,853 9,468 9,444 8,769 8,226

Norfolk 203 268 333 343 340

Northamptonshire 303 413 389 455 422

Northumbria 934 974 886 834 924

North Wales 288 278 331 396 356

North Yorkshire 80 54 133 205 234

Nottinghamshire 635 619 551 566 715

South Wales 737 794 735 713 555

South Yorkshire 242 259 471 1,032 1,037

Staffordshire 466 600 646 805 889

Suffolk 246 297 244 240 329

Surrey 407 482 510 845 588

Sussex 443 552 575 710 991

Thames Valley 948 1,104 1,154 1,128 1,483

Warwickshire 159 187 222 293 375

West Mercia 527 674 609 527 499

West Midlands 2,422 2,479 2,413 3,071 3,338

West Yorkshire 707 1,874 2,140 2,898 2,691

Wiltshire 232 244 220 260 253

British Transport police 402 652 946 1,088 1,188

England and Wales total 31,436 35,674 38,114 42,547 43,730

(1) There are currently seven racially-aggravated offence classifications within the Recorded Crime series. They are as follows: less serious wounding, harassment, assault without injury, criminal damage to a dwelling, criminal damage to a building other that a dwelling, criminal damage to a vehicle, and other criminal damage.