Hate crimes in Nottinghamshire are rising and within a growing environment of Islamophobia, some extremist attacks may be provoking a violent backlash against the county’s Muslim community.
Nottinghamshire has seen an overall increase in the number of crimes motivated by prejudice or hate in the past two years, and particularly in the wake of high profile attacks by Muslim extremists.
An FOI request made to Nottinghamshire Police revealed that over a six month period in 2013 there were 342 hate crimes, constituting those fuelled by racism, homophobia, transphobia, or because of disability, religion or belief.
But for a six month period in 2014, the number of attacks grew to 425 – a rise of almost 25 per cent. But in the wake of Lee Rigby’s brutal murder in London on Wednesday, May 22, 2013, hate crimes spiked from the weekly average of 11 to 26 in a week. The most attacks on a single day was nine - on the Saturday following the attack.
There was no significant rise after the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris on January 8.
A spokesperson for the Police said: “Whilst we acknowledge that world events may result in a short term spike in incidents, we are confident that the bulk of the increase is due to a higher level of confidence within communities to come forward and report what is happening to them.
“Such events can serve to increase tension and reinforce stereotypes.
“However, as we have not experienced significant offending in the wake of any of these events.
“Nottinghamshire Police and partners are determined to create communities in which there is no place for hate.
“Our response to events such as the murder of Lee Rigby, and other more recent events worldwide has been to engage with and reassure communities and where necessary, increase patrols and visibility.”
The vast majority of hate crimes are racially motivated by race and religion, as a report by the Nottingham Citizens found that 80 per cent of attacks met this profile.
Some 44% of attacks involved race and 36% were due to religion.
Broxtowe’s hate crimes descreased from 24 to 17 per six month period.
The numbers could be missing a high proportion of crimes, however, as the report found in 2014 that only one in five hate crimes is reported to police.
Some 262 victims of hate crime were interviewed by the social change group, and of those only two knew of a conviction being made.
Many people believed incidents were not serious enough to be a “crime”, said the report. But hate crime isn’t just a racist or homophobic attack. The police says it is any incident, which may or may not constitute a criminal offence motivated by prejudice or hate.
A spokesperson said: “It can take many forms but it’s most commonly seen when a person acts differently towards you because of racism, homophobia, transphobia or because of disability, religion or belief.”
“All forces perceive an under-reporting of hate crimes and incidents. Nottinghamshire Police, together with City, County and local authorities and other organisations have invested heavily in building confidence with different communities, who are subjected to these kind of behaviours.
“We have provided alternative reception points for the reporting of hate crimes and built strong links through our neighbourhood policing teams and through work with charities and other “third sector” bodies who support these communities.”
The social campaigning group Nottingham Citizens is to launch the response from Police and councils on Friday, March 20, promising their steps towards change in the local area.