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EU referendum ‘unleashed’ hate crimes in UK

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The Leave vote "unleashed" the number of hate crimes committed in the UK, police say.

The Leave vote “unleashed” the number of hate crimes committed in the UK, police say.

British police say that the result of the country’s vote to leave the European Union has “unleashed” more hate crimes perpetrated in the United Kingdom.

According to a London police senior official speaking on Tuesday, over 400 people suspected of committing hate crimes have been arrested since the result of the EU referendum, announced on June 24, a figure which is double the number of offenses before the Leave vote.

“It does appear that the Brexit vote unleashed something in people where they felt able to do things that, let’s be really clear, are illegal”, in terms of verbal and physical hate crimes against people seen as foreigners, said Craig Mackey, the London police chief.

He said the Metropolitan Police normally dealt with 25 to 50 hate-provoked offenses every day before the Brexit vote as compared to 57 to 78 afterwards.

“We’ve seen an increase in both reporting of incidents and hate crime,” Mackey said, adding that, “Overall hate crime rises, some rise in both anti-Semitic and Islamic hate crime – all of these are intolerable acts.”

Mackey further noted that the offenses mainly included verbal abuse, harassment and criminal damage, with some “higher level” assaults, such as grievous bodily harm.

In the second half of June, over 3,000 hate crimes and related incidents were reported to security forces across the UK, in what is seen as a 42-percent rise compared to the same period last year.

Hate crime is defined as an offense, perceived to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic.

In the June 23 referendum, about 52 percent of British voters opted to leave the EU, while roughly 48 percent of the people voted to stay in the union. More than 17.4 million Britons said the country should leave the bloc just over 16.14 million others favored remaining in the EU.

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