LONDON, The United Kingdom’s controversial departure from the European Union this year was followed by a rise in hate crimes, according to a new government report.
The statistics, released Thursday, show that hate crimes in the United Kingdom spiked in July, the month following the EU referendum cote.
With 5,468 total hate crimes recorded for the month, that’s an increase of 41 percent over July 2015. Overall, the report shows that U.K. hate crimes have increased by about 20 percent year-to-year.
It’s unclear exactly what connection may exist between the surge in hate crimes and Britons’ desire to leave the EU, but the report says police recorded more than 200 hate crime incidents on July 1 alone. The referendum vote was held June 23.
The spike in hate-related offenses also coincided with an effort by British officials to encourage victims of hate crimes to report them to police. The hate crime action plan was announced by Home Secretary Amber Rudd at the end of July.
“We will not stand for it. Hatred has no place whatsoever in a 21st century Great Britain that works for everyone,” she said.
The plan includes substantial government funding and covers Great Britain and Wales until 2020.
The government report broke down the hate crimes by motives. Statistics show that 79 percent were based on race, 12 percent on sexual orientation, 7 percent on religion, 6 percent on disability and 1 percent on transgender issues.
Additionally, the report said, police departments are becoming more compliant in reporting instances of hate crimes.
“Action taken by police forces to improve their compliance with the National Crime Recording Standard has led to improved recording of crime over the last year, especially for violence against the person offences,” it states. “Together with a greater awareness of hate crime, and improved willingness of victims to come forward, this is likely to be a factor in the increase in hate crimes recorded by the police in 2015/16 compared with the previous year.”
Hate crimes are those motivated by a victim’s particular characteristic, such as race, religion and sexual preference.
“The number of aggravated offences recorded then declined in August, but remained at a higher level than prior to the EU Referendum,” the report continued. “These increases fit the widely reported pattern of an increase in hate crime following the EU referendum.
“This analysis shows a clear increase following the referendum result.”
Last month, British newspaper The Guardian found that European embassies inside the United Kingdom handled an increased number of reported hate crimes immediately after the EU vote.