Hate crimes in England and Wales targeting people by religion rise 40%

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The Home Office report suggested that the surge in reported hate crimes was driven by improvements in the way these crimes are identified and recorded by police.

A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said: "Our message is clear - to target hate at a person due to their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender is a crime that can have a devastating impact upon individuals and communities".

The UK's Muslim community is much larger than the Jewish community, comprising 4.8% of the population, although hate crimes against Muslims were still more than ten times the size of its relative population by almost 10 times.

The Home Office data reports the proportion of hate crimes against different demographics of people vary widely across police forces, with a total of 94,098 hate crimes recorded by police across England and Wales in 2017-18. Jews were the next most commonly targeted group - at 12%.

"Each hate crime that is not reported is a missed opportunity to support the victim". But it also noted "spikes following the European Union referendum and the terrorist attacks in 2017".

The Muslim Council of Britain repeated calls for meaningful and proactive Government action as new figures reveal a rise in Islamophobic hate crime.

While the number reported to and recorded by police has been rising to record levels, CPS figures from previous year showed the number being prosecuted successfully has, in fact, been falling.

One element these figures simply don't cover is sectarianism - where one branch or sect of a faith targets another. Around half related to Muslims and Islam.

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The Home Office noted that there were peaks in racially or religiously aggravated offences following terrorist attacks such as the Lee Rigby murder in July 2013 and the Westminster Bridge attack in March 2017.

The new figures come as the government asks the Law Commission to "consider if there should be additional protected characteristics, such as "misogyny and age" as well as "alternative" cultures such as "Goths".

"Despite these rises, hate crime remains hugely under-reported".

"Today's figures show persistent hate crime including high levels of racial hate crime, that is very damaging both for those who are targeted by appalling violence or abuse and for entire communities too".

Worryingly, the number of closed prosecutions dropped by over 2 per cent from 14,480 in 2016/17 to 14,151 in 2017/18.

Lammy, a champion of the group, said: "The extent to which hate crimes have risen in recent years is shameful".

The CPS also said tougher sentences had been handed down in two-thirds of cases, after prosecutors highlighted aggravating factors to judges.

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