London

Met Police deputy chief links Brexit vote to hate crime rise

Polish Social and Cultural Association (POSK) Image copyright Google
Image caption "Racist" graffiti was found scrawled on a Polish cultural centre building in Hammersmith in June

The deputy chief of the Met Police has linked a rise in reports of hate crimes to the result of the EU referendum.

Scotland Yard deputy commissioner Craig Mackey said the Brexit vote appeared to have "unleashed something in people".

The number of hate crimes the force sees daily has more than doubled since before June 23.

Four hundred people have been arrested in London for suspected hate crimes since Britain voted to leave the European Union, according to the Met.

'Intolerable acts'

Mr Mackey said the offences were mainly verbal abuse, harassment and criminal damage, but serious assaults had also been reported.

Anti-Semitic and Islamic hate crime has risen, along with racist attacks on members of black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, the force said.

Mr Mackey said all of the crimes were "intolerable acts".

He said the referendum made people feel able to do "things that, let's be really clear, are illegal".

"We will take action where they do it and when those incidents occur," he added.

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Media captionBrenda Crawford has been describing how she was racially abused at a bus stop

Before the referendum on June 23, the force dealt with 25 to 50 offences per day, Mr Mackey told the Police and Crime Committee at London's City Hall.

Since June 24, when the result was announced, the force has seen 57 to 78 offences per day.

Mr Mackey said there have been some "higher level" assaults as serious as grievous bodily harm.

Earlier this month, the National Police Chiefs' Council said there were 289 alleged offences across England, Wales and Northern Ireland on June 25 - equivalent to 12 every hour.

More than 3,000 hate crimes and incidents were reported to forces across the UK in the second half of June - a rise of 42% compared with the same period last year.

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