The Guardian ran a story on its website today headlined: ‘Hate crimes doubled in England and Wales in five years.’ Alarming if true, but is it?
The story is based on some data released by the Home Office today which, on the face of it, does appear to show the number of hate crimes increasing. The number of hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales in 2018-19 was 103,397, up from 94,121 in 2017-18, a rise of ten per cent.
But drill down into the report, and the picture becomes more hazy. The word doing most of the work here is ‘recorded’. Yes, the number of recorded hate crimes has increased year-on-year, but how do we know that isn’t due to the police being more likely to record hate crimes? In fact, the Home Office acknowledges that ‘increases in hate crime over the last five years have been mainly driven by improvements in crime recording by the police’. (To read more, click here.)