Politicians criticised for 'toxic' language as religious and transgender hate crimes rise

By John Mercury October 5, 2023

Politicians have been criticised for using “toxic” and “dehumanising” language as new figures reveal religious and transgender hate crimes have risen in the past year.

The number of transgender hate crimes recorded by police in England and Wales increased by 11% to 4,732, according to the Home Office.

Religious hate crimes rose by 9% to 9,387, year-on-year data up to March 2023 showed.

Muslims were the most commonly targeted group, accounting for 39% of offences – followed by Jewish people, who were the victims of 17% of offences.

Christians accounted for 7%, followed by Hindus and Sikhs both at 3%.

In 22% of the offences, the targeted religion was not known.

The figures were published as Rishi Sunak sparked controversy with remarks about gender during his Conservative Party conference speech on Wednesday.

The prime minister told an audience assembled in Manchester: “A man is a man and a woman is a woman, that’s just common sense.”

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Tory kicked out of main hall at conference

Tory London Assembly member Andrew Boff was ejected during Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s speech after he was heard saying: “Trash about gender ideology is making our Conservative Party look transphobic and homophobic.”

Days earlier, Ms Braverman was branded “inhuman” after she announced “simply being gay or a woman” was not enough to gain refugee status.

LGBTQ+ campaign group, Stonewall, said political leaders failed to act “seriously or quickly enough” against hate crime, adding: “Many of them are filling the public domain with toxic language that dehumanises LGBTQ+ people.”

The charity said trans hate crimes had risen by 186% in the past five years, attributing the increase to the “UK government drawing back its support for trans people and the growth of divisive and demonising rhetoric about trans people in society”.

Reacting to the Home Office figures, Stonewall posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday: “Statistics only provide a snapshot of the reality, with the vast majority of victims not reporting their experiences to police.”

It called on ministers to develop a “clear plan” to tackle hate crimes and make communities safer.”

The Home Office acknowledged that the rise in transgender hate crime could be the result of “heavy discussion by politicians, the media and on social media in the past year”.

It also suggested there could be increased awareness in police identifying and recording such crimes.

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Overall drop in reported crime – but some blame ‘failing public trust’

Overall, the number of hate crimes recorded by forces in England and Wales fell year on year for the first time in a decade.

A total of 145,214 offences were recorded up to March 2023 – a 5% reduction compared with 153,536 a year earlier.

The total had risen every year since comparable data began in 2012/13.

There were 101,906 race hate crimes – a 6% drop from the previous year, when 108,476 incidents recorded.

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But charity Victim Support said the drop in police recorded hate crimes could be due to “failing public trust”.

Becca Rosenthal, national hate crime lead, said: “Those we support increasingly tell us that they are reluctant to approach the police, so these figures could simply reflect less people reporting to the police.

“Given this, independent support services for victims have never been more important.”

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The data does not include Devon and Cornwall Police who were unable to provide the most up-to-date information.

More than half – 51% – of hate crimes were for public order offences, with 41% for violence against the person offences and 5% recorded as criminal damage and arson.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “There is no place for hate in our society, it does not reflect the values of modern Britain, and we remain committed to ensuring these abhorrent offences are stamped out.

“We are pleased there has been an overall reduction in hate crimes recorded by police, and the numbers of sexual orientation, race and disability hate crimes all fell. But any instance is one too many.

“We expect the police to fully investigate these hateful attacks and make sure the cowards who commit them feel the full force of the law.”


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