Police Scotland receives more than 7,000 hate crime reports in first week of new legislation

More than 7,000 online ‘hate reports’ have been received by Police Scotland since the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021 came into force on April 1.

Apr 10, 2024
By Paul Jacques
Picture: Police Scotland

Data published by Police Scotland on Wednesday (April 10), shows there were 7,152 online hate reports received from April 1 to April 7, 2024. During this period 240 hate crimes and 30 non-crime hate incidents were recorded.

The vast majority of reports received during this period were anonymous, said Police Scotland.

“These were assessed against the new legislation and no further action is being taken,” it added.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “This data highlights the substantial increase in the number of online hate reports being received since April 1.

“This significant demand continues to be managed within our contact centres and so far the impact on frontline policing, our ability to answer calls and respond to those who need our help in communities across Scotland has been minimal.

“All complaints received are reviewed by officers, supported by dedicated hate crime advisers, and dealt with appropriately, whether that is being progressed for further assessment, or closed as they do not meet the criteria under the legislation.”

Martyn Evans, chair of the Scottish Police Authority said: “The Scottish Police Authority has been closely monitoring Police Scotland’s preparedness for the new Hate Crime legislation that came into force on April 1, 2024. We have also been tracking the public debate and interest over recent weeks.

“At our Authority meeting last month, we were clear that evidence and data would be key to understanding Police Scotland’s response to this. While the data published is an early snapshot, the numbers do indicate that Police Scotland has sought to proportionately police this new legislation.

“The sizeable number of reports made in the first week did not translate to a crime or an incident suggests confusion of what constitutes a hate crime. It is reassuring that volumes have reduced following the first few days. Beyond these initial few days, Police Scotland has confirmed to the Authority that there has been no reduction on frontline policing, no material burden or additional workload for officers and contact centre staff.

“Tracking and analysing hate crime reports and the policing response over the coming weeks will show whether the trends on reporting and the current proportionate policing assessment are confirmed.

“Police Scotland will publish these figures weekly. The Authority expects Police Scotland’s communications approach to continue be driven by the evidence and data collected and reported.”

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