Hate crime 'nearly doubles' to 854 cases in County Durham

Reports of hate crimes in County Durham and Darlington have ‘nearly doubled’ in recent years, according to the latest data.

Sunday, 10th November 2019, 6:23 am
Updated Sunday, 10th November 2019, 10:07 am
Picture c/o PA

Figures show the number of recorded hate crimes surged by almost 400 in the force area for Durham Constabulary between 2016/17 and 2018/19 – up from 456 to 854.

However, a report by the office of the Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC) also said the reasons for this are ‘not entirely clear’ and could be linked to a change in the way such incidents are logged by officers, among other possible factors.

But some have been left in little doubt about what they think is behind the rise.

“I think the elephant in the room is that since 2016 the number of incidents has jumped,” said Coun David Boyes, of Durham County Council (DCC).

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“We’ve now got a Prime Minister who calls muslim women letter boxes – it just seems acceptable now.”

Coun Boyes was speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of DCC’s Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which he also chairs.

A five-point plan to tackle the issue has been put together by the PCVC’s Hate Crime Action Group and has included measures such as ‘Hate Hurts’ campaign to raise awareness, a review of reporting systems and improved measures to share evidence and secure prosecutions.

“There’s definitely and increase in reported incidents and we think there’s an actual increase too,” said Jon Carling, the PCVC’s acting chief executive, “you will often see in the press after a terrorist or other high-profile incident an increase in hate crime.”