Suspected race hate crimes on Britain’s railways jumped sharply following the EU referendum, new figures show.
In the fortnight after the poll, British Transport Police recorded 119 incidents including allegations of racist abuse and attacks at stations - equivalent to eight every day, The Press Association reported.
The number of alleged race hate offences logged by the force between 24 June and 7 July amounts to a 57% increase compared with the previous two weeks - and an even sharper rise of 78% on the equivalent period last year.
- There were 11 alleged race hate offences on June 25 - the day after the outcome of the vote was announced.
- Public order crimes were the most commonly recorded incidents, with dozens of suspects said to have made racist comments towards passengers or staff.
- In one episode at Hastings station in East Sussex on June 26, a suspect allegedly shouted at a victim who was speaking in Polish.
- There were three alleged instances of racially or religiously aggravated actual bodily harm, including one in which the victim was “perceived to be attacked due to their nationality”.
- At the time the FOI response was issued earlier this month, 22 people had been arrested in relation to the cases recorded in the fortnight after the referendum was held.
“These latest figures are very worrying, and they highlight the continuing need for staff presence at stations and on board trains.”
“We consistently hear from victims that one of the reasons they do not report incidents is a lack of confidence in authorities to deal with the issue.
“We would encourage BTP to look closely at the type of incidents being reported and take the opportunity to assess how effective their hate crime strategies are.”
BTP polices Britain’s railways as well as a number of urban networks such as London Underground.
Superintendent Chris Horton, of BTP, said: “Hate crime is totally unacceptable and has no place in society or on the rail network.
“We are aware that hate crime is under-reported and so in order to tackle it effectively, we need the public to stand up to those committing these sickening acts and report it to us. We will take every report seriously.
“We will always work tirelessly to ensure those who threaten or intimidate passengers are brought to justice.”
Last month it was revealed that more than 6,000 alleged hate crimes and incidents were reported to police in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the four weeks from the middle of June. There was a slight fall after an initial spike, but the volume of reports was still around a third higher than the equivalent period last year.
Ministers have launched a new hate crime action plan, including steps to tackle offences perpetrated on public transport.