Since 2014-15, the number of hate crimes recorded by the police in Scotland has fluctuated between 6,600 and 7,000 (to the nearest 100) per year (as recorded on the Scotland’s Interim Vulnerable Persons Database (IVPD.)

In 2019-20, 62% of hate crimes included an aggravator for race, 20% sexual orientation, 8% religion, 4% disability and 1% transgender identity. The remaining 5% included multiple hate aggravators (Justice Analytical Services, Scottish Government).

There has been an increase in the number of charges reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20 for race, sexual orientation and disability aggravated hate crime charges, with a decrease in religious aggravated charges and a slight decrease in transgender identity aggravated charges.  Racial crime remains the most commonly reported hate crime, followed by crimes with a sexual orientation aggravator (Justice Analytical Services, Scottish Government).

However, the under-reporting of hate crime remains a serious issue in Scotland, which is important to bear in mind when considering these figures.  From the Scottish Household Survey published 2019, 8% reported that they had experienced discrimination in the last 12 months and 6% had experienced harassment.  We also know that major ‘trigger’ events such as Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic as well as media reporting, political rhetoric and policies have had a major impact on prejudice and hate in the UK.

Read this Briefing Paper in full here.