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Hate Crimes in Scotland: Increasing or Decreasing?

The number of hate crimes, which are being committed in Scotland, is falling.

In addition to an overall reduction in the number of hate crimes over the last twelve months, throughout the same period, the new data – recently released by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) – shows that the number of:

1. racial crimes decreased by nine per cent (9%) – the lowest number since 2004;

2. religiously aggravated crimes dropped by four per cent (4%) – the lowest level since 2005;
3. offences committed under Section 1 of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 fell by six per cent (6%); and
4. charges, which related to an individual’s sexual orientation, decreased by five per cent (5%).

Commenting on the COPFS’ findings: Scotland’s Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland, stated:

“One of my key priorities as Lord Advocate is to tackle hate crime in Scotland and the figures published today show that Scotland is becoming a more tolerant and diverse country. There is no place for complacency though and we will continue to work to ensure the downward trend continues in the coming years.

“Although there are many positives in the figures there are some causes for concern. The number of cases Involving Islamophobia and anti Semitism have both risen by 23 and 16 respectively. I want to reassure these communities that the full force of the law will be brought to bear on anyone engaging in this hateful and divisive conduct and would urge victims of all forms of hate crime to come forward and not suffer in silence.

“I’ve previously stated that I believed disability-related crimes were under reported compared to other hate crimes and feel that is still the case. Following a lot of hard work and interaction with the disabled community, however, this is beginning to change with an increase of 20% on last year. I would hope that in the disabled community increased confidence in police and prosecutors will encourage more people to report these crimes in future.

“I am particularly pleased to see racial and religiously aggravated offending at their lowest levels for a decade and football related hate crimes also reducing.

“There is absolutely no place in modern Scotland for individuals who commit crimes motivated by prejudice towards a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.

“A prosecution rate of more than 80% demonstrates that offending, motivated by prejudice, will not be tolerated and perpetrators will be dealt with robustly by Scotland’s prosecutors.”

Contact Us – Charged with a Hate Crime in Scotland?

If you have been charged with any hate crime or another criminal offence altogether, GLP’s Glasgow-based criminal defence lawyers can help. Click here to contact us today.