HATE crime rocketed to a record high in the last year with transphobic abuse seeing the biggest rise, shocking new Home Office data reveals.
LGBT rights charity Stonewall warned the statistics may be “the tip of the iceberg”, with overall reported hate crimes more than doubling in six years in England and Wales.
The number of reported hate crimes surged by more than 10 per cent in the past year.
But the government say the increase could reflect improvements in how police record hate crime.
Racist hate crimes made up 76 per cent of the overall total, up 11 per cent in the last year from 71,264 to 78,991.
Transgender identity hate crimes soared by 37 per cent in the last year from 1,703 to 2,333.
Laura Russell, a director at charity Stonewall, said: “As worrying statistics like this demonstrate, lesbian, gay, bi and trans people still face hatred simply because of who they are.
‘TIP OF THE ICEBERG’
“While it is possible that the increase is due to higher confidence in reporting, these figures are still likely to only represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hate crimes against LGBT people.”
The horrific rise in reported hate crimes comes after a gay couple say they were victims of a horrific homophobic attack on a London bus that left them covered in blood.
Four teenagers will stand trial next month over the alleged attack.
There was also a 25 per cent hike in sexual orientation hate crimes, up to 14,491 from 11,592.
Disability hate crimes rose by 14 per cent with offences triggered by religion up 3 per cent.
London and the South East and the North West of England saw the highest proportions of reported hate crimes triggered by a victim’s race and sexual orientation.
Some 16,037 hate crimes were motivated by race in London, according to figures for the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police.
But there were spikes seen events such as the EU referendum and the terrorist attacks in 2017, as well as a rise in reports in the summer of 2018 and January this year.
The report added: “Part of the increase over the last year may reflect a real rise in hate crimes recorded by the police.”
Over half of the hate crimes recorded by the police were for public order offences, 36 per cent involved violence while 5 per cent were recorded as criminal damage and arson.
Around 12 per cent of the offences were estimated to have more than one motivation, with the majority of these being both race and religion.
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Hate crimes are defined as being motivated by hostility or prejudice of a characteristic.
Race or ethnicity, religion or beliefs, sexual orientation, disability and transgender identity are all
But police forces log other types of hostility under hate crime, including misogyny and incidents where victims were targeted because of their age or membership of an “alternative sub-culture”, such as goths.