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Increase in most hate crimes in Northern Ireland - and fewer sectarian incidents

The latest figures show there were 232 more racist hate crimes than last year, but 88 fewer sectarian hate incidents.

THE PSNI SAW an increase in almost all forms of hate incidents in Northern Ireland over the past year – but slightly fewer sectarian incidents.

In its latest report on hate motivated crimes, when comparing 2012/13 and 2013/14, it found:

  • 982 racist incidents (up 232) and 691 racist crimes (up 221)
  • 280 homophobic incidents (up 34) and 179 homophobic crimes (up 30)
  • 1284 sectarian incidents (down 88) and 961 sectarian crimes (up 72)
  • 107 disability incidents (up 33) and 70 disability crimes (up 35)
  • 24 faith/religion incidents (up 2) and 13 faith/religion crimes (down 1)
  • 23 transphobic incidents (up 8) and eight transphobic crimes (up 2)


The PSNI said that racist incidents and crimes recorded have tended to fluctuate, but saw a marked increase in the most recent tally.

racist trends

Around two thirds of the increase in racist motivated incidents and crimes between 2012/13 and 2013/14 occurred in the four Belfast policing areas.

Homophobic incidents have increased year-on-year since 2006/7, with this year seeing the highest level recorded since the data series began.

Sectarian incidents

The PSNI said that levels of sectarian motivated incidents and crimes have been almost identical over the last few years. But whilst sectarian incidents for 2013/14 are lower than 2012/13, sectarian crimes have increased over the same period.

Two-fifths of the overall increase in sectarian motivated crimes occurred in East Belfast policing area.

There were 57 attacks on symbolic premises – 17 on churches or chapels, and 40 on Orange or Apprentice Boys halls.

Disability motivated incidents and crimes were showing broadly similar levels until 2012/13, when levels “increased considerably”.

The levels of faith/religion motivated incidents and crimes have remained stable between 2009 and the latest figures.

To read the full report, click here.

Policing response

The PSNI established Operation Reiner at the beginning of May to tackle hate crime incidents.

ACC Will Kerr said today:

We know that racist hate crime is significantly under reported. We require as much information from the public as they can provide so that our response is as effective as possible. We need the public to tell us what they know about racist hate crime and would encourage as many victims as possible to feel confident enough to contact their local police

They have now set up a dedicated phone line for hate crime across Northern Ireland.

It will be accessed through the Police non-emergency 101 number – members of the public calling the 101 number will be asked to press option 2 to report a hate crime incident or to provide police with relevant information about a hate crime.

If someone would prefer to provide information anonymously, they can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


The Immigrant Council of Ireland has now called on the gardaí to reassure victims that their complaints will be taken seriously when they come forward.

Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council, said:

“We have long believed that racism in our communities is under reported with victims frightened that if they come forward they will not be taken seriously or that they will be perceived as trouble makers.

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