Celebratory racism: the post-Brexit reality for minorities

"Get Polish out of Town" Xenophobic graffiti
 According to a recent Home Office report, there has been a steep rise in the number of racially or religiously aggravated hate crimes reported nationally following the EU referendum vote.
 "Get Polish out of Town" Xenophobic graffiti

Photo credit: chesswithdeath on Flickr.

The EU Referendum took place in June of this year, and Britain has voted to leave the European Union. While many of the effects that Remain campaigners have warned about are yet to take effect, one immediate change has become apparent. A report released by the Home Office on October 13 revealed that, compared to July of 2015, there has been a 41% increase in xenophobic hate crimes recorded by police in this year.

The report highlighted that “action taken by police forces to improve their compliance with the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) has led to improved recording of crime over the last year. Together with a greater awareness of hate crime, and improved willingness of victims to come forward, this is likely to be a factor in the increase in hate crimes recorded by the police in 2015/16 compared with the previous year.”

However, data in the appendix of the report focuses specifically on hate crime levels surrounding the EU referendum.

The National Police Chief’s Council reported that at its peak, around 300 offences occurred in one day. The level of crimes reported has since decreased but is still significantly higher than those seen in previous years.

The figures show that certain groups of people are using the referendum results as justification for openly expressing racist or xenophobic views. The increase in incidents has led to the creation of several online spaces where people can document and report such cases, including Post Ref Racism and Worrying Signs.

“There’s some evidence that hate crimes have increased since the Brexit vote, as bigots feel empowered to take out their anger on ethnic minorities and migrants,” said James Bloodworth, columnist for the International Business Times and left-wing political journalist. “It’s important for politicians take a clear stand against this so as to drum the message home that Brexit doesn’t give carte blanche to xenophobia.”

He also stressed the importance of reporting such crimes, not only in hopes of getting justice but also as a form of raising awareness and encouraging others to come forward. “Getting a reliable estimate of the true number of these crimes is also important in terms of prevention. Finding out how many there are and reporting it is the first stage in trying to reduce their incidence.”

Police urge anyone who has been a victim to report any incident of hate crime on 101 or using their True Vision website. West Yorkshire Police also have an online hate crime reporting form. Those feeling vulnerable can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

For more information on hate crimes visit the West Yorkshire Police website.

By Fairouz Khallad

About the Author

This article was produced by a student or students on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.

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