Wales politics

Hate crime stats rise does not mean more crime, UKIP AM says

Michelle Brown
Image caption Michelle Brown questioned statistics on hate crime during a Senedd debate on Tuesday

Labour has called for UKIP AM Michelle Brown to clarify comments she made on Tuesday suggesting there was a hate crime "publicity machine".

Figures released in the summer by police chiefs suggested a year-on-year rise in hate crimes.

Ms Brown said the increase in reporting crime did not "necessarily" mean more crime was being committed.

Labour AM Rhianon Passmore called the remarks "insensitive" and claimed UKIP did not take the offences seriously.

In a debate in the Senedd on Tuesday Ms Brown, who represents North Wales, said any increase in reported crimes was "not necessarily an indication that more of those crimes are actually being committed".

She added: "Increases in reported crime are therefore more a testament to the effectiveness of the publicity machine surrounding hate crime than evidence that our society is become more intolerant."

'Ill-chosen'

Ms Passmore, who represents Islwyn, said: "The evidence clearly shows that very many people do not report hate crimes and these insensitive and ill-chosen remarks from UKIP will do nothing to address this, nor the incidents of intolerance that victims face on a daily basis.

"UKIP's attempts to dismiss this shows that they do not take these offences seriously."

In July then-Prime Minister David Cameron described crimes committed in the wake of June's EU referendum "despicable".

Hate crimes are offences where a victim is targeted because of criteria including their race, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

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