Hate crime prosecutions fell by almost 10 per cent in England and Wales last year despite a rise in the number of reported incidents.
Figures from a Freedom of Information request hate crime reports increased by 20 per cent – from 50,288 in 2014/15 to 60,255 in 2016/16, the BBC reports.
However, data from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) hate crime report showed the number of cases referred to prosecutors decreased from 14,376 in 2014/15 to 12,997 in 2015/16 – a drop of 9.6 per cent.
The British media focused heavily on an alleged increase in hate crime in the make of June’s Brexit vote, however Breitbart London exposed how anti-Brexit campaigners were using social media to inflate the figures.
The “Worrying Signs” Facebook page encouraged members to “spread some awareness” of perceived incidents after the referendum, encouraging them to “share information, post pictures, add screen grabs (etc.) of any worrying signs or incidents of racism / xenophobia you’ve come across since the UK EU referendum results”.
The page, which swelled to almost 12,000 members just a week after the vote, then told supporters to report incidents to the police.
Breitbart London reported how it takes just minutes to report an alleged hate incident online, raising questions over whether the supposed surge in reports was politically motivated.
All posts on the page were also kept public, thus allowing alleged incidents to go viral in the media and creating a narrative of rising hate.
A police statement later clarified that while reported hate crimes had risen via an online form, there was no evidence of a genuine increase in incidents.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said that while online reported incidents had risen 57 per cent, the figure “should not be read as a national increase in hate crime of 57% but an increase in reporting through one mechanism.”