London: More than 6,000 hate crimes have been reported to police in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the wake of Britain's vote to leave the European Union (EU) last month, latest figures released this week show.
In the four weeks since June 16, as many as 6,193 offences had been reported across the UK, with the most common crimes being harassment, assault, verbal abuse and spitting, the UK’s National Police Chief's Council said.
"Following increases in hate crime seen after the EU referendum, police forces have been taking a robust approach to these crimes and we are pleased to see the numbers of incidents have begun to fall," said assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton, the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for hate crime.
"Clearly any hate crime is unacceptable and these numbers are still far too high. We remain committed to helping people feel safe and secure about being themselves as they go about their lives so police officers will continue to be out around the country engaging with communities and picking up and dealing with tensions and problems," he said.
There was a slight fall in reports in the first half of July compared with an initial spike in the days before and after the 23 June Brexit vote, police chiefs said. But the overall level of racist and hate related incidents was up 20 per cent on the same period in July 2015.
Following the vote to leave the European Union there has been a spike in the number of attacks on migrants and ethnic minorities. Muslim people and Eastern Europeans reported they had been particularly targeted with the result.
Immigration was one of the most prevalent and divisive issues discussed during the campaign, with the prospect of controlling migration one of the key topics that is believed to have swung the vote in favour of Brexit.