What is hate crime?

Recognising the signs of HATE CRIME

A hate crime is any hate incident which constitutes a criminal offence and the victim or any other person believes it to be motivated by prejudice or hate.

We record a hate incident if the victim or another person believes it is motivated by the hatred of someone because of a particular factor. Those factors include:

  • A person's disability
  • Their race, ethnicity or nationality
  • Their religion or belief
  • Their sexual orientation
  • Their transgender identity
  • Their sex or gender

Hate crime can be against the person, or the person's property.

No-one should have to live in fear or anxiety. You do not have to suffer in silence. We urge you to report hate incidents.

Hate crime doesn't just affect the individual person it is aimed at. It can have a major impact on whole communities.

A hate incident is any non-Criminal incident

A hate incident is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility or prejudice. This may be an incident involving prejudicial behaviour where the criminal threshold isn’t met, such as being excluded from a barber’s shop for being transgender, or being called names.

Faces of diversity

The key word around hate crimes and hate incidents is perception. This is where the victim or another person feels the victim has been targeted because of a protected characteristic based on their:

  • disablity,
  • race or ethnicity,
  • religion or belief,
  • sexual orientation or
  • gender reassignment
  • sex or gender

These are known as monitored ‘hate strands’ which the police record and report back to the Home Office.

A victim may feel they have been targeted based on something else to do with their personal identity  and this is also recorded by the police as hate ‘other’.

Having an accurate understanding of the number of hate crimes and incidents that occur in communities enables the police to respond in the most appropriate way. It also helps monitor incidents that are happening and will assist in identifying any emerging tensions.

Hate crime targets an individual because of who they are, or what they believe in. Whilst this may often be due to ignorance of the offender, it can also be associated with inherent hostility and prejudice. Support and reassurance are of great importance for a victim of a hate crime and reporting it is a key way to access these services.

Being respectful to others is a major factor in looking at how hate crime  and hate incidents can be minimised.

Hate Crime reporting figures

For the latest figure please visit the Equality Information and Reports page.

We say no to hate crime


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Devon & Cornwall Police
Police Headquarters
Middlemoor, Exeter

Tel: 101
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