Met police received more than 500 reports of hate crimes after Brexit vote

London force typically averages 20-50 a day but saw a spike following EU referendum

More than 500 reports of hate crimes were made to police in London after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

The Metropolitan police said they received 599 allegations between Friday 24 June, the day the result was revealed, and Saturday 2 July.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Met commissioner, said that the vote had allegedly been “directly referenced or alluded to” in 23 incidents.

The force said it had received eight allegations that Polish or other European communities had been targeted.

The Met, which is Britain’s largest force, usually averages between 20 and 50 reports of hate crime a day. On Sunday 26 June it received 62 reports and the following Tuesday it had 64.

The figures were revealed in a letter from Hogan-Howe to Keith Vaz, the chair of the home affairs committee, which on Tuesday announced an investigation into hate crime.

Suspected incidents in London have included the spraying of racist graffiti on the front entrance of the Polish Social and Cultural Association (POSK) in Hammersmith on 26 June.

On Monday, police released CCTV footage of a man throwing rotten pork meat at a mosque in north London.

Nationally, police say the aftermath of the referendum produced a fivefold increase in reports to a special hate crime reporting website, with 331 received by last Wednesday.

Most incidents involved alleged harassment, but Avon and Somerset police said a Polish man suffered “significant injuries” following a racially aggravated assault by two men on the day the result was announced.

The victim, in his 30s, was walking along St Michael’s Avenue in Yeovil, Somerset at about 6pm on 24 June when two men approached him and asked whether he spoke English, before repeatedly punching and kicking him, police said.

He required hospital treatment for a potentially life-changing eye injury, a fractured cheekbone and substantial bruising to his body.

Other incidents included the distribution of cards saying “Leave the EU/No more Polish vermin” in English and Polish outside a school in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

An official report published last year said there were an estimated 222,000 hate crimes on average per year in England and Wales. The most commonly reported motivating factor was race. Police estimate that only one in four hate crimes are reported to them.


Vikram Dodd and Ben Quinn

The GuardianTramp

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