Dear Sir/Madam,

I would like to complain about the statistics used in this briefing on hate crime.

There are two problems.

It is claimed:

‘In 2019/20, there were 105,090 hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales, excluding Greater Manchester police, an increase of 8 per cent compared with 2018/19 (97,446 offences).’

The problem is that these are reports that have not been verified by a court of law. We do not know if they took place or not. We only have evidence of a ‘hate motivation’ based on the say-so of the complainant.

Moreover, my research for Civitas found that what is recorded as a hate crime is often neither a crime nor matches the definition of a hate crime as one motivated by hatred or hostility. Rather what we have are arguments over things like parking spaces of restaurant bills that spill over into name-calling.

I attach the results of an FOI request to an unnamed police force to illustrate this point. My Civitas piece is linked to at the end of this email.

The second problem is that the Crime Survey of England and Wales estimates are too high. This is because the attribution of a hate motivation is based on the subjective say-so of the respondent. The CSEW asks were you a victim of a crime?, then do you think it had a racial motive? But there is a follow-up question which asks why you think it was racially motivated. My analysis of this item revealed that 12 per cent of ‘racially motivated hate crimes’ were believed to be so because ‘some people pick on minorities’. This is obviously not convincing evidence.

Full details are included in my report which I encourage you to read.

The report makes suggestions about how we might better measure hate crime which I ask you to consider.

Yours faithfully,

Richard Norrie


Related Links:

Ed Humpherson response to Dr Richard Norrie: Hate crime statistics