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Racist incidents statistics published
Minister for Community Safety Roseanna Cunningham yesterday cautiously welcomed figures showing a decrease in racist incidents recorded by the police in Scotland in 2010-11.
Ms Cunningham said that there are still far too many hate crimes taking place across the country and warned against complacency in light of more up-to-date Crown Office prosecution statistics published last month. These showed an increase in the number of charges reported to the Procurator Fiscal by the police and other agencies for racism and other forms of hatred in 2011-12.
The ‘Racist Incidents Recorded by the Police in Scotland, 2010-11 statistics published today show:
* The number of racist incidents recorded by the police in Scotland has shown a reduction for the fourth consecutive year, with 4,907 incidents recorded in 2010-11, an eight per cent reduction from 2006-07.
* Where ethnic origin of the victim was known, 24 per cent of victims were Pakistani, while 46 per cent of victims were of Asian origin (which includes Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese or other Asian).
* In 2010-11, 46 per cent of perpetrators of racist incidents were aged 20 or under (where age and gender was known).
* The most common times at which racist incidents occurred were on Friday night and Saturday night, with more incidents generally occurring between the hours of 18:00 to midnight.
* The most common locations for an incident in 2010-11 were the street (33 per cent), a dwelling house (19 per cent) and in a shop (17 per cent). Other locations included a restaurant / takeaway (eight per cent) and a pub / place of entertainment (six per cent).
In response, the Minister said:
“Hatred of any kind has no place in modern Scotland and we need to do everything we can to stop it wherever and whenever it occurs, whilst tackling the root causes.
“Along with tough enforcement through record numbers of police officers on our streets, community engagement and education is driving home the message that there is no place for racism of any kind in Scotland.
"While these figures show a decrease in incidents in 2010-11, we cannot be complacent, particularly as we saw new prosecution figures being published last month which show an increase in racist charges this year.
“That is why we must continue with the work we are doing to tackle racism and hatred in all its forms whilst constantly looking at new ways of getting across the message to the next generation of young Scots.
“We need to say loud and clear that these outdated attitudes are not acceptable and never will be, whilst educating them about the importance of tolerance and respect.
“The fact that so many of these incidents are happening on Friday and Saturday nights underlines the importance of our efforts to tackle the booze culture which is damaging our communities.
“The Scottish Government will not tolerate racist behaviour of any kind, whether on the street, in a pub or club, in our workplaces or at a football match and we back our police and prosecutors in punishing offenders for their shameful behaviour.
“Scotland has an outstanding reputation as a welcoming and tolerant nation and we cannot let a minority of Scots tarnish our image. We want Scotland to be a country where all our citizens can live free from fear and discrimination."
The Scottish Government are committed to promoting equality across Scotland and working with others to do so. To help achieve that aim, the Scottish Government are providing significant funding to core organisations to combat bigotry and hatred of all kinds with nearly £15 million being provided during 2012-15 to allow organisations to take forward specific projects and initiatives to address the issues and support work that will make our communities safer and stronger.
This includes funding of £272,000 announced last week by the Minister for Community Safety to organisations such as Nil by Mouth, Show Bigotry the Red Card, Sense over Sectarianism and the Iona Community to tackle wider forms of hatred.
The Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 and the Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act 2009 protect the victims of hate crimes by strengthening statutory aggravations for racial and religiously motivated crimes (2010 Act) and creating new statutory aggravations for crimes motivated by sexual orientation, transgender identity and disability (2009 Act). These aggravations also extend to situations where an offender in committing an offence demonstrates malice or ill-will towards a particular group as a whole without the need for an individual victim to be identified.
The legislation ensures that, where it can be proven that an offence has been motivated by malice or ill-will based on the victim’s actual or presumed sexual orientation, transgender identity, disability, race or religion, the court must take that motivation into account when determining sentence. This may lead to a longer custodial sentence or higher fine or a different type of disposal than might have been the case if the offence was not so aggravated. The aim of the legislation is to ensure that when the prejudicial context of a crime has been hatred towards a certain group then that context is taken into account when an offender is being sentenced.