Hate crimes on the rise in the region

Police are appealing for witnesses
Police are appealing for witnesses

Hate crimes, most of which are racially motivated, are on the increase in the Borders.

Friday’s meeting of the Scottish Borders Police, Fire & Rescue and Safer Communities Board heard that 58 such offences had been reported in the six months to September 30 – a hike of over 81% on the 32 incidents recorded in the corresponding period last year. Of the recent crimes, 41 were motivated by race (21 last year), while nine (seven) were homophobic.

Among the 23 race-related crimes reported in the three months from July, 16 of the victims were described as “white European” while five were “Asian”.

Chief Superintendent Gill Imery said the rise in reports of hate crime could be due to the awareness campaign – No Place for Prejudice.

“We will continue to increase the confidence of minority groups in the Borders in reporting this type of crime,” she stated.

The board also heard that there appeared to be a link between more drug dealer arrests and a rise in violent crime and robberies in the region. CS Imery reported there had been 18 robberies in the six months from April 1, compared to the three reported over the same period last year and serious assaults had leapt from 16 to 30.

She said: “We have seen an emergence of violent crime so far this year and are doing everything we can to stop it. These are not robberies and attacks on ordinary people in the street, but are largely involving parties who are involved in criminal activity.

“There is a drugs issue in the Borders and, as we stop the supply chain, so the price goes up and so do drug debts. These debts lead to other crimes being committed.”

She reported that during the six months, 36 suspected drug dealers had been arrested compared to 27 over the same period in 2014.