Police watchdog to investigate response to hate crime reports


Watchdogs will assess the police response to hate crime following a surge in reported incidents after the EU referendum.

Levels of anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, homophobic and racist bullying in schools will also be examined under a new Government drive.

The steps will be outlined on Tuesday as ministers publish a hate crime action plan following a sharp rise in alleged offences and incidents reported to police in the weeks before and after the referendum on June 23.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd is expected to announce plans to commission Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary to carry out a "scoping study" into forces' understanding of and response to hate crime. 

It will look at how constabularies deal with hate crime and cover all strands including crimes against the disabled.

A new programme to equip teachers to facilitate conversations around international events and the impact they have on communities in the UK will also be announced.

The Home Office said the Government will work with schools on how to report incidents of hate crime, the Home Office said.

The assessment of bullying in schools comes after police figures indicated that young people were the victims of 10% of faith hate crime and 8% of race hate crime for the three-week period between June 16 and July 7.

The action plan will contain measures aimed at increasing reporting of incidents, as well as work to prevent offences on public transport.

Prosecutors will be urged to press for tougher sentences for perpetrators, while a £2.4 million fund will be set up for security measures and equipment at synagogues, mosques, churches and other places of worship that need increased protection.

Figures in religious communities have raised concerns about crimes ranging from graffiti to arson.

Ms Rudd said: "This Government is determined to build a Britain that works for everyone. Those who practise hatred send out a message that it's okay to abuse and attack others because of their nationality, ethnicity or religious background; that it's okay to disregard our shared values and promote the intolerance that causes enormous harm to communities and individuals.

"Well, I have a very clear message for them - we will not stand for it. Hatred has no place whatsoever in a 21st century Great Britain that works for everyone.

"We are Great Britain because we are united by values such as democracy, free speech, mutual respect and opportunity for all.

"We are the sum of all our parts - a proud, diverse society. Hatred does not get a seat at the table, and we will do everything we can to stamp it out."

A spate of reports after the EU referendum sparked fears of a wave of xenophobic and racial abuse.

Figures released on Friday showed more than 6,000 alleged hate crimes and incidents were reported to police in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in four weeks from the middle of last month.

The daily rate peaked at 289 reports on June 25 - the day after the referendum result was announced.

The main type of offence reported was "violence against the person", which includes harassment and common assault as well as verbal abuse, spitting and "barging".

Public order offences and criminal damage were the second and third most common incidents respectively.