Police record almost 200 'non-crime' hate incidents since 2018
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk police have recorded almost 200 'non-crime' hate incidents since the beginning of 2018, according to Freedom of Information data.
The force logged 189 hate incidents, perceived to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice, between January 2018 and the end of April.
National guidance requires incidents to be recorded even when an offence has not taken place.
Police use an example of someone being refused service due to perceived prejudice.
Annual totals have fallen from 65 in the 12 months to the end of April 2019 to 47 in 2020/21.
Inspector Vicky McParland said figures had seen a steady decline, replicated nationally, due to lockdown periods since last March, but that there had been an upward trend in hate crime reported since the lifting of restrictions.
“Hate crime is an area, like domestic abuse, where we feel crime is under reported by victims, and we continue to work to engage with communities to build trust and confidence so they feel able to report hate crimes to police," she added.
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In March this year, lawyers argued at the Court of Appeal that College of Policing guidance “violates the right to freedom of expression”.
The case concerned former officer Harry Miller, who was visited at work by Humberside Police in 2019 over allegedly transphobic tweets.
The High Court ruled that the force's actions were a “disproportionate interference” with his right to freedom of expression, but rejected his challenge of the guidance, finding it was not disproportionate.
A result in the appeal case is expected later in the year.
Non-crime hate incidents do not show up on ordinary criminal record certificates, but can be disclosed on an enhanced criminal record check requested by certain employers.
David Tucker, from the College of Policing, said police had responded to non-crime incidents involving things like anti-social behaviour and community tensions for decades.
He said hate incidents were no different, and had been recorded following a recommendation in the Macpherson report.
Mr Tucker described a non-crime incident as a "record of an investigation into an event that has caused a member of the public concern".
He said the guidance was in place to draw together Home Office crime counting rules, national standards for incident recording and various pieces of case law.
“The guidance is in place to protect the public and it is continually kept under review," he added.