POLICE have launched a crackdown on religious hate crime following a surge in the number of Islamophobic hate crime incidents.
Data published by Dorset Police has revealed that the number of cases have almost doubled from more than 15 in 2016 to 27 last year, an increase of 80 per cent.
Superintendent Jez Noyce, Dorset Police’s hate crime lead said he ‘deplored’ any such incidents.
He added: “Nobody should have to live with the fear and anxiety that hate crimes and incidents cause.
“Not only is there a significant impact on victims, but it can also affect family, friends and others in the community.”
The force said that the increase was because of the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester last year which had an impact on reports in Dorset.
Superintendent Noyce, added: “We are working closely with our partners and the different communities in Dorset to increase reporting of crimes and incidents when they occur as well directly with the Muslim communities to raise confidence in policing.
“I am encouraged by an apparent increase in the willingness of victims to come forward and report these incidents. The priority for us is to ensure that victims of hate incidents or crimes are supported and that appropriate actions are taken.”
Iman Atta, deputy director of campaign group Tell Mama which aims to combat Islamophobia, said the increase in attacks had “created a heightened sense of tension in Muslim communities” across Dorset as well as the rest of the country.
He added: “Last year’s terrorist attacks had ripple effects, triggering Islamophobic attacks and the large increment rise you have seen.”
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police which serves Greater London reported 1,674 cases in 2017, up from 1,205 in 2018, an increase of 40 per cent.
A crime is classified as a hate crime if it is motivated by hostility, prejudice or hatred towards someone’s actual or perceived race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.