- Part of:
- Law and order
Improved methods for reporting welcomed.
Victims or complainers of racist incidents from the Pakistani community in Scotland have fallen by 4.2 per cent over the last year, to their lowest levels in a decade.
However new statistics released today show that, despite the drop, members of the Pakistani community in Scotland were still most likely to be victims or complainers of racist incidents in 2013-14, with 224.2 victims or complainers per 10,000 of the population.
The overall number of racist incidents recorded by the police in Scotland in 2013-14 was the third lowest figure since 2004-5, although there was an increase of 3.9% compared to 2012-13.
The rise is mainly due to reports of complainers or victims who identify as 'White British' ethnicity and, in the seven legacy force areas that we have a breakdown for, (which covers 57% of all victims/complainers), 61% of the 'White British' are classed as 'White Scottish'.
In light of these statistics, ministers are welcoming efforts by Scotland's communities to promote a "no bystanders" culture where there is no place for bigotry and intolerance.
For all reported incidents, 94.7% resulted in at least one crime being reported. There was a 77% clear-up rate on crime recorded as part of a racist incident.
Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs Paul Wheelhouse said:
"These statistics paint a complex picture of the impact of racist incidents across Scotland. While it is encouraging that the number of incidents involving members of the Pakistani community are now at their lowest levels in a decade, the overall increase in reported racist incidents more generally shows us that more work still needs to be done.
"Where we can dig deeper into the statistics, we can see that many reports are from Scots who are classed as 'White British'. The fact this mirrors the demographic make-up of Scotland means it may well be down to more witnesses coming forward, which is to be welcomed. Police Scotland, Crimestoppers and community groups themselves have worked hard in recent years to encourage people to report incidents of racism, which reflects a continual trend towards a Scotland where racism and intolerance are becoming less accepted by society.
"The fact that so many of these incidents resulted in at least one crime being reported, and that over three quarters of these have been solved also shows just how seriously the police take any reports of racial discrimination, and I would like to pay tribute to their efforts and strong leadership in this area.
"But while it is encouraging that people are likely more confident in coming forward to report these incidents and that attitudes are changing for the better around what constitutes a hate crime, even one hate crime is one too many.
"Put simply, this Government is sending a strong message that racism in any form is simply unacceptable and there is no place for it in 21st Century Scotland. Whether you're a victim, or you are someone who witnesses unacceptable behaviour, be assured that the police or the authorities will take your report seriously and action will be taken."
Chief Supt Paul Main, lead officer for Safer Communities in Police Scotland, said: "One incident where hatred and intolerance is a motivating factor is one too many. Police Scotland continues to work closely with our communities and other partners across the criminal justice spectrum to ensure those who are the victims of such incidents have the confidence to come forward and report their experiences to us. This ensures we can tackle the perpetrators of hate crime in a determined and focused way which sends out a clear message to anyone who thinks this is acceptable behaviour in Scotland in 2015.
"Police Scotland will apply a victim-focused approach to hate crime. That approach will also target persistent and repeat offenders, using all of the information and intelligence available to officers throughout our communities. Communities can help defeat hate crime; information from the public is vital to help us tackle those who commit it and we are seeing growing confidence in the public to come forward and report incidents.
"Scotland's communities consist of people who come from many different faiths and racial backgrounds. This is Scottish Interfaith Week and the message of tolerance in communities is an important one at this current time."
Danny Boyle from BEMIS, the national umbrella body supporting the development of the Ethnic Minorities Voluntary Sector in Scotland, said:
"Hate crime of any sort is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Scotland. It is absolutely imperative that we remain vigilant against prejudiced based crimes and that we work together, as communities, diverse Scottish citizens, Police Scotland, the Scottish Government and others to send an unambiguous message that hate crime and racism is an insult to all of the people of Scotland. We would encourage all individuals and communities to work closely with Police Scotland and others to maintain this robust stance and work towards creating a Scotland in which our diverse communities feel safe and valued as assets to Scotland"
A full copy of the statistics can be found here:
The racist incidents data collection uses two classifications for ethnicity: a 13-group classification and a 21-group classification. In 2013-14, Strathclyde legacy force area, was the only area to use the old 13- group classification due to constraints with their legacy system. All other forces supplied the data in the 21-group classification. In order to compare ethnic classifications over the time period covered by the bulletin, the new 21-group ethnicity classification has been aggregated to match the old 13-group classification.
The Scottish Government is supporting a range of projects in communities, and have invested over £80 million since 2012 to tackle discrimination, including £3.1 million this year alone to specifically tackle racist and religious intolerance, as well as improve the lives of minority ethnic and religious communities in Scotland. It has also strengthened the law through the Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) Act (Scotland) 2009 and the Criminal Justice and Licencing (Scotland) Act 2010.
As well as recent marketing campaigns to encourage greater reporting of hate crime, Police Scotland have a network of over 300 third party reporting centres, where people can seek support to report, and do so anonymously if they wish. Alongside this, Crimestoppers can now receive reports for hate crimes that can be made in any language.
Further details on how you can report a hate crime can be found here: http://www.scotland.police.uk/contact-us/hate-crime-and-third-party-reporting/