MORE than 340 hate crimes, including racism and sectarian abuse, have been reported across the Capital in just three months, the Evening News can today reveal.
Lothian and Borders Police recorded an increase of five per cent from April to June in slurs and assaults concerning age, disability, beliefs, race and sexual orientation in the city.
The number of racist incidents in Edinburgh increased to 295 from 284 and recorded incidents regarding sexual orientation in the Capital were up 15 per cent.
Campaigners today called perpetrators of such crimes “the lowest of the low” and urged victims to report incidents to police immediately.
The rise was in comparison with the average during the past three years over the same period.
Inspector Barry Darling said that officers had increased their work in the community and hoped more people would come forward to report crimes.
He said: “Over the past three years there has been a 13 per cent rise in reported hate crime. A lot of the [increased incidents] are related to football and sectarianism. We’ve had a focus on sectarianism.
“Lothian and Borders have made a lot of efforts in the last year to reach out to the local community. We want people to feel safe and confident that they can come forward.”
Director of external affairs for Capability Scotland Richard Hamer said: “Many of the disabled people that Capability Scotland works with will be very concerned to hear about the increasing incidence of hate crime in the Capital.
“Perpetrators of hate crime really are the lowest of the low. They prey on people they perceive to be ‘different’ in some way and cause a great deal of distress and upset to their victims. In the worst cases victims can undergo years of torment and suffering.
“The only way to stamp out hate crime is to ensure incidents get reported to the police.”
A policy performance note by the chief constable at Lothian and Borders Police said: “Increases in recording and reporting have occurred for race and religion or belief related crimes and offences. Expectation is that increased reporting will occur and is welcomed to provide reassurance that this area of crime will be dealt with robustly for the victim and the community.”