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Hate crimes are surging in U.K.

Race was said to be the motivating factor in more than three quarters of the incidents.

Hate crimes in the U.K. have more than doubled over the last five years and rose 17 percent in the last year alone, according to new information released by the British Home Office.(Photo credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Hate crimes in the U.K. have more than doubled over the last five years and rose 17 percent in the last year alone, according to new information released by the British Home Office.(Photo credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Hate crimes in the U.K. have more than doubled over the last five years and rose 17 percent in the last year alone, according to new information released by the British Home Office.

The figures, which focus on England and Wales, show there were 94,098 hate crimes between March 2017 and March 2018, compared to 42,255 hate crimes five years prior, between March 2012 and 2013. According to the data, the majority of the cases (71,251) were classified as “race hate,” but there was also a surge in crimes specifically motivated by religion (from 5,949 to 8,336). Of these, more than half of them — 52 percent — were aimed at Muslims.

According to the Home Office, a large portion of the increase could be attributed to the improved way police record data, but it also conceded that there had been “spikes in hate crime following certain events such as the EU referendum and the terrorist attacks in 2017.”

In the aftermath of the 2016 Brexit vote — as well as the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester — the U.K. experienced a steady and disturbing uptick in hate crimes and far-right violence. In a previous 2017 report, the Home Office said that there had been a 29 percent in hate crimes from 2015-16 to 2016-17.

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The British security services have meanwhile warned that there is a growing threat from far-right extremists. In February, Mark Rowley, the former assistant commissioner to London’s Metropolitan Police, warned that the far-right threat was “more significant and more challenging than perhaps the public debate gives it credit for.” He added that there had been four disrupted far-right terror plots over the course of 2016.

In September 2017 British police also arrested four soldiers for being part of National Action, a proscribed neo-Nazi terrorist organization.

The far-right have also been an increased street presence, most recently following far-right activist, “independent journalist,” and former mortgage fraudster Tommy Robinson’s jailing for contempt of court. In June, thousands of right-wing nationalists descended on London to protest Robinson’s imprisonment, clashing with cops as they marched in the streets.

This past weekend, London saw another (though much smaller) clash between a right-wing group known as the Democratic Football Lads Alliance and counter-protesters. The clash quickly turned violent, with DFLA protesters also fighting police officers, at least one of them yelling, “I’ll kill you.”

The far-right surge in the U.K. has being partly bankrolled by U.S. cash. As the Guardian has previously noted, the right-wing Middle East Forum has been helping to bankroll Tommy Robinson’s legal defense, while Trump’s former strategist, Steve Bannon, has also called for his release from prison.