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Racist incidents and crimes up in latest figures

12 December 2012

Racist incidents recorded by Scottish police in 2011-12 rose by 10% compared to 2010-11, according to official figures published yesterday.

Racist Incidents Recorded by the Police in Scotland records 5,389 incidents as against 4,911 in 2010-11, the first increase in the last five years. A racist incident is "any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person".

Incidents resulted in the recording of 6,472 crimes in 2011-12, an increase of 5% compared to the 6,173 in 2010-11. The clear-up rate was 68%, up 1%.

The most common crimes/offences recorded were racially aggravated conduct (57%), and breach of the peace, including the new statutory forms (19%).

Consistently with previous years, over a third of victims (34%) were in the 26-35 age group, and men were almost three times as likely to be victims as women.

However 40% of perpetrators were aged 20 or under (where age and gender were known), whereas only 13% of victims were in this age group.

Where ethnic origin was known, 23% of victims were Pakistani, 22% were White British and 12% were other white (which includes Gypsy Traveller, Polish White and other White). These proportions have been changing gradually since 2004-05, when 36% of victims were Pakistani and 17% were White British and 3% were other White.

Of known actions against perpetrators was known, 75% were referred to the procurator fiscal or the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration.

Describing the figures as "disappointing", Minister for Community Safety Roseanna Cunningham commented: "It is all the more disheartening given the downward trend observed in recent years. However, we know that this is not always due to an increased number of crimes taking place, but can instead be attributed to individuals and communities being better engaged with the police and having more confidence to report perpetrators of such crimes, and that when reporting a crime their complaint will be taken seriously."

She added: “Regardless of the reasons for the increase, we must continue with the work we are doing to tackle racism and hatred in all its forms whilst constantly looking at new ways of getting across the message to the next generation of young Scots. Along with tough enforcement through record numbers of police officers on our streets, community engagement and education is driving home the message that there is no place for racism of any kind in Scotland.”

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