Racist incidents reported on the rise in Cheshire
660 racially or religiously aggravated incidents were recorded by Cheshire Police in 2016-2017, up 20% from 535 in 2015-2016. There were almost twice as many incidents in the second quarter of the year over summer. This has been mirrored by police forces around the UK, leading some – including charity Stop Hate UK – to link this to Brexit and it’s impact on hate crime across the country
Cheshire Police have not connected the rise to Brexit, suggesting that increased confidence in police forces, increased awareness of hate crimes and easier online reporting for causing the rise.
Deputy Chief Constable Janette McCormick said: “Any form of hate crime is not acceptable and will not be tolerated in Cheshire. We want people to feel safe and feel they can go about their business, no matter who they are, without fear of violence or threat.
“It is recognised nationally that hate crime is under reported, so it is encouraging to see that more people in Cheshire are coming forward each year to report it.
“We want people to be confident in coming forward if they are a victim of hate crime and feel reassured that we will do everything we can in supporting them through the process.”
Cllr Jonathan Farber, Knutsford Town Council member for Over, told the Guardian that he was not surprised by the figures – with a Polish friend having been racially abused following last June’s referendum.
“I’m aware of racism in the town, I think it’s absolutely appalling and there’s no place for it,” he said.
“I was devastated to hear it happening in my own town. Some of the things you hear being said in pubs – it’s just not right, it’s not fair.
“Overwhelmingly the people of Knutsford are tolerant and educated, but there are some who openly feel it is OK to come out with their toxic views.
“I don’t want to paint Knutsford as a racist town, but there are incidents that are toxic.”