UK

Anti-Muslim crimes get own category in statistics

A Muslim woman Image copyright PA

Anti-Muslim hate crimes will be recorded as a separate category by all police forces in England and Wales, the prime minister has said.

The move brings Islamophobia in line with anti-Semitic attacks targeting Jewish people, which have been recorded separately for some time.

It comes ahead of the publication of yearly hate crime statistics, which are expected to show further rises.

The Metropolitan Police already records Islamophobic crime.

The government said creating a separate category across the board would "enable police, prosecutors, councils and the communities they serve to have a better understanding of the prevalence of anti-Muslim hate crime and allocate resources accordingly".

"It will provide the first accurate picture of the extent of anti-Muslim hate crime in England and Wales," Downing Street said.

'No place'

At the first meeting of a new community engagement forum later on Tuesday, Mr Cameron will also announce new funding for the security of all faith establishments, including mosques.

The forum, which was announced in July, will discuss the objectives of the government's upcoming counter-extremism strategy, which is due for publication later this month.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Cameron said: "We all have a role to play in confronting extremism. That's why I have invited important Muslim and non-Muslim figures to join the new community engagement forum so I can hear directly about their work in our communities, the challenges they face and so that they can be part of our one nation strategy to defeat it.

"I want to build a national coalition to challenge and speak out against extremists and the poison they peddle. I want British Muslims to know we will back them to stand against those who spread hate and to counter the narrative which says Muslims do not feel British.

"And I want police to take more action against those who persecute others simply because of their religion."

Home Secretary Theresa May said hate crime had "no place in Britain".

"Working with police to provide a breakdown in religious-based hate crime data will help forces to build community trust, target their resources and enable the public to hold them to account," she added.

Police recorded 44,480 hate crimes in England and Wales during 2013-14. That was up 5% on the previous year across race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender - the five key measures that feature in national figures.

But a further breakdown indicates there was a 45% jump in religiously motivated incidents to 2,273 - which an official report at the time said was partly down to more anti-Muslim incidents following the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby by Islamic extremists in south-east London in May 2013.

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