More hate crimes being reported in Scotland

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'Hate' spray-painted signImage source, PA Media

All categories of hate crime in Scotland are increasing, according to official figures.

Racial crime is the most common reported hate crime, accounting for 3,038 charges in 2019-20.

This was an increase of 4% on the previous year, although still 33% lower than the peak recorded in 2011-12.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said the Scottish government was determined to work towards creating "zero tolerance" of hate crime.

The figures released by the Crown Office show sexual orientation aggravated crime - representing 1,486 charges - is the second most commonly reported type of hate crime.

The number of charges reported under this heading increased year-on-year by 24%.

There was a similar increase in religiously aggravated charges, to a total of 660.

Disability aggravated charges showed an increase of 29% to 387.

There were 41 charges reported in 2019-20 with an aggravation of transgender identity. This compared to 40 in 2018-19.

Commenting of the figures, Mr Yousaf said: "We are determined to do everything it takes to ensure Scotland is a place where there is zero tolerance of hate crime.

"Our message is clear, we will not stand for prejudice or discrimination of any kind."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The justice secretary said prejudice or discrimination of any kind was unacceptable

He said the increase in reported charges " may suggest victims have more confidence" to speak out.

But he accepted that many incidents go unreported.

The justice secretary added: "The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill makes clear that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated."

Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC said prosecutors take seriously their responsibility to protect the public from this type of offending.

"I am grateful to all of the victims of hate crime who have had the courage and confidence to report their experience, and I encourage anyone who is the victim of such crime to come forward," he said..