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COPFS

Lord Advocate Welcomes Publication of Hate Crime Figures

The Lord Advocate, James Wolffe QC, today welcomed the publication of figures on Hate Crime in Scotland.

New figures published today for 2016-17 show that for race crime there was a 10% decrease (363 fewer charges) on the figures for 2015-16 which is the lowest level 2003-04. This year’s figure is 26% lower than the peak in 2011-12.

The number of charges reported with a religious aggravation rose 14% (92 additional charges) and those relating to disability decreased by 6% (13 fewer charges).

There was a 5% increase in charges reported which were aggravated by sexual orientation and the number of charges reported to COPFS under the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act section 1 rose by 32%, the majority of the increase being linked to offences from the Scottish Cup Final in May 2016 which accounted for 140 charges.

Speaking of the figures the Lord Advocate said:

“Crime motivated by hatred is not only a wrong against the individual, who should be entitled to live free from violence and intimidation, but is an affront to our collective values as a community, and is particularly liable to create division and fear.
“Modern Scotland is characterised by values of tolerance and respect and law enforcement agencies will use the full range of their powers to ensure we uphold these basic values.
“It is vital that victims of hate crime have the confidence to report this type of offending and it is encouraging that in many sections of society this is the case.
“We continue to work with the police and support organisations to encourage people to come forward in relation to any hate crime. I would like to assure anyone affected by hate crime that they live in a society in which law enforcement agencies will ensure any report is treated with the utmost seriousness.”