Hate crime has been on the rise in the United Kingdom since the results of a national referendum revealed that the UK had voted to leave the EU by a small margin. Amongst recent reports in the current surge of hate crimes are young children, including a three-year-old boy who is being investigated by police.
The Mail Online, which itself has been a part of race-related controversies in the past and which has been a champion for the Brexit campaign, reports figures obtained from 37 of 43 police forces in England and Wales showing that 138 incidents of racial or religious abuse by those under the age of 10 were reported last year — almost double the number of those reported in 2011.
Racism in the classroom is reportedly on the rise, with many teachers having contacted charities for help in combating pupils’ actions.
Zak Cochrane of Stand Up To Racism describes the situation:
“We have been told about children giving Nazi salutes and making anti-Semitic comments. The n-word and p-word are also used and this has to stop.”
Former shadow police minister Jack Dromey has also responded to the rise in hate crime by saying that the current situation is “truly shocking.”
His comments echoed concern about the nation’s future:
“What kind of country are we becoming if children of those with a different colour skin or a foreign accent or because they are Muslims or Jews fear for their safety in primary school?”
As reported by The Mirror, anti-racism charities have cited the role that parents are playing in molding their children’s minds and in breeding a generation that is less tolerant.
Former shadow police minister Dromey expressed his agreement:
“Children are influenced by grown-ups and those who have peddled the politics of hatred and xenophobia should be ashamed.”
He included a message to Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, two of the leading figures in the leave campaign leading up to the EU referendum:
“My message to Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson is there is nothing British about hate.”
Farage has been at the centre of several race-related controversies, including one instance in which he dismissed an ex-UKIP candidate’s use of a racial slur as being “colloquial” language.
The recent reports on the rise in hate crimes can be added to the figures reported directly following the EU referendum. The Independent reported National Police Chief Councils statistics showing a 42 per cent rise in the number of hate crimes directly following the referendum from June 16 to 30 compared to the same period in the previous year.
At the time, the council’s lead for hate crime, assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton, made the following statement:
“We now have a clear indication of the increases in the reporting of hate crime nationally and can see that there has been a sharp rise in recent weeks. This is unacceptable and it undermines the diversity and tolerance we should instead be celebrating”.
Meanwhile, the criteria for hate crimes have this month been expanded. As reported by the BBC, the Nottinghamshire Police force have said that they will include misogynistic incidents in the hate crime category in a bid to tackle sexist abuse.
Hate crimes are typically related to disability, gender identity, race, religion or sexual orientation.