Just 3% of 7,000 hate complaints were crimes, stats reveal

In the first week of the controversial Hate Crime Act, 240 hate crimes and 30 non-crime hate incidents were recorded.

Key Points
  • Figures show just 3.3% of hate crime complaints were recorded as a crime
  • 240 hate crimes and 30 non-crime hate incidents have been recorded
  • There have been 7,152 online hate reports received since April 1
  • Vast majority of reports received during this period were anonymous

Just 3% of the more than 7,000 hate complaints reported to Police Scotland the first week of controversial new hate legislation coming into force were found to be a crime.

Official figures released by the force show 7,152 online hate reports were made to police online between April 1 and April 7.

Officers found only 240 of these were hate crimes, representing 3.3% of all hate reports.

As well as the more than 7,000 online reports, police also dealt with 430 incidents in the first week where a hate crime tag was added, while there were 34 calls to either 101 or 999 relating to a hate crime and 141 emails sent to Police Scotland for the same purpose.

The Scottish Government’s Hate Crime and Pubilc Order Act came into force at the start of the month, sparking a sharp rise in the number of hate complaints.

It takes existing laws around the stirring up of hatred on the basis of race and extends that to other groups, including transgender and disabled people.

Police Scotland said it recorded 30 non-crime hate incidents during the same period.

The vast majority of reports received during this period were anonymous, the force added.

These were assessed against the new legislation and no further action is being taken.

Slides produced by Police Scotland also showed two complaints made under the new Act stemming from the Old Firm match on Sunday.

Concerns had been raised ahead of the legislation being enforced of both the impact on free speech and the readiness of officers to deal with it.

According to the slides, more than four out of five (80.49%) of officers have undertaken the two-hour training course on the application of the legislation.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “This data highlights the substantial increase in the number of online hate reports being received since April 1.

“This significant demand continues to be managed within our contact centres and so far the impact on frontline policing, our ability to answer calls and respond to those who need our help in communities across Scotland has been minimal.

“All complaints received are reviewed by officers, supported by dedicated hate crime advisers, and dealt with appropriately, whether that is being progressed for further assessment, or closed as they do not meet the criteria under the legislation”.

What do the hate crime figures look like?

Sexual Orientation42
Variations in Sex Characteristics0
Recorded Hate Crime Aggravators 2024/25

Nearly half of all the hate crimes recorded by Police Scotland were aggravated by race.

Officers recorded 120 hate crimes aggravated by race out of 250 aggrivators.

Those targeted for their sexual orientation were the second biggest group with 42 incidents, while disability was third at 38.

There were 21 hate crimes each for religion and age while eight were recorded against transgender people.

None were recorded for variations in sex characteristics.

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