Latest hate crime figures covering the period of 2017 UK terrorist attacks published
Following the attack on Westminster on 22 March, police forces provided weekly returns of recorded hate crime to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).
Police recorded 234 hate crime incidents two days after the Westminster incident, with similar increases seen after attacks in Manchester (273) and London Bridge (319). These spikes returned to average levels within days as communities across the country responded with widespread shows of support and unity. This pattern was not seen following the Finsbury Park attack with 223 hate crime incidents reported two days after and which remained on average lower than other attacks.
While these brief increases are to some extent driven by a response to the terrorist attacks, they should be understood in the context of hate crime which can be affected by external events, including the ongoing debates about the EU Referendum and high-profile attacks and events both in the UK and internationally such as widespread protests or military action. Levels of hate crime also typically fluctuate and tends to be higher during the summer and at weekends. It is also likely that reporting is higher when there is an increased visible police presence, as people can report these crimes directly to officers, which was the case in the days following these attacks.
National Police Chiefs Council Lead for Hate Crime, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said:
"We know that terrorist attacks and other national and global events have the potential to trigger short-term spikes in hate crime and so we have been carefully monitoring community tensions following recent horrific events.
“Reporting from police forces show that levels of hate crime peaked in the wake of the attacks but quickly subsided within a few days. This is in line with trends we have seen before, though obviously still a real concern for the police service and wider society.
“As terrorists seek to divide us, it is more important than ever that we continue to stand united in the face of hostility and hatred. Police forces remain committed to helping all people feel safe and secure as they go about their daily lives. More officers have been deployed on visible patrols and forces continue to reach out to all communities to provide reassurance, strengthen our bonds and deal with tensions that may have been triggered.
“Across the country we have seen people and communities reject these hateful divisions by defiantly celebrating our shared values and diversity and showing we will not be intimidated by an intolerant minority.
"Far too many hate crimes still go unreported so we continue to urge anyone feeling vulnerable to get in touch with the police on 101 or using our True Vision website (www.report-it.org.uk)."
These are national figures based on police returns collected centrally. It is initial data and may still be subject to slight fluctuations, for example through issues like retrospective reporting. There are also caveats to consider, outlined below.
Table 1: Total number of hate crimes
Day 2 post incident
Day 7 post incident (Difference to same day 2016*)
Analysis of this data is ongoing to place it within a wider context and across longer periods of time. As a general steer, in 2016 there were on average 171 hate crimes per day, though this does not take into account generally higher levels of hate crime reporting on weekends and close to specific events such as protest marches or other national or international events that can impact reporting.
Table 2: % Increase in hate crime compared to same week in 2016*
Week 1 (week containing attack)
Current estimates show that the vast majority of increases across this period were driven by race or faith hate crimes. Further breakdowns will be available in official statistics published by the Home Office, as these statistics are subject to change to meet national statistics standards.
*Comparisons with the previous year should be viewed with caution, as there was a similar spike last year following the EU Referendum vote which influences the baseline statistics. There are also complications because data collection in 2016 began on different days than in 2017.
**The London Bridge attack saw a larger spike and one contributing factor may be that it took place on a weekend, where hate crime reporting is typically higher across the board as a baseline. The same applies to the Finsbury Park attack, as general levels of hate crime were on average much lower for that attack than the others.