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Sharp rise in racism offences in West Midlands

Reports of racism in the West Midlands have risen every year since 2014, new figures have revealed.

Racism offences have risen over recent years

There were a total of 4,134 racially or religiously aggravated offences recorded by West Midlands Police last year, a rise of more than 500 from the year before.

It represents a huge rise from 2012 when the figure was 2,307. The sharp increase could partly be down to the rise in social media, though the figures from West Midlands Police did not specify how many related to comments made online.

Latest data shows 2020 is already in course to top last year's total with 716 racist incidents recorded for the first two months alone.

Since 2014, when there were 2,517 cases, the number of offences has risen every year.

Concerns were raised that the divisive Brexit debate over the last few years fuelled racism in the UK but again it is unclear to what extent, if at all, this played a part.

The force also provided figures for the number of racism offences which had occurred in "educational" locations, including schools, which also showed a steady rise over recent years.

There were 79 cases last year, up from 54 in 2018. The total was as as low as 28 in 2012.

Wolverhampton councillor Milkinder Jaspal, a former city mayor, says it is too easy for people to be racist anonymously online and believes there needs to be a stronger deterrent.

He said: "The police and prosecution service need to take firm and strong action and we don't get that.

"It's very rare. Hence people who hold racist views are repeating it.

"A lot of cases are dropped and when someone comes to me I'm in two minds whether to advise them to go to the police because I don't know if they will do anything."

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