Two coronavirus hate crimes a week reported to police
Police have been called to deal with two hate crime cases linked to coronavirus a week in the West Midlands since January, new figures have revealed.
People of Chinese or South East Asian descent have mostly been on the receiving end of abuse.
The youngest suspect was an 11-year-old, while the youngest victim was 12. A 76-year-old was among those targeted.
A total of 20 hate crime cases with links to coronavirus were recorded by West Midlands Police between January and March 10, before the UK lockdown was enforced.
Those who were abused included nine women and seven men. The genders of the other four victims were not recorded.
Data released by the force under the Freedom of Information Act showed at least 10 of the victims were either of Chinese, Japanese, Asian or South East Asian descent. Another three were of white European ethnicity.
On at least 14 of the 20 occasions no action was taken by police. For 11 of these there were "no further inquiries", two were classed as "non-crimes" and on one occasion there was there was "suspect identification or other evidential difficulty".
Information was not provided in the remaining six cases, meaning it is possible no action was taken in relation to all complaints.
It is not the first time figures have shown the Chinese community has come under attack since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
Covid-19 originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan before spreading across the world.
There have also been reports of people spitting and coughing at police officers and shop workers and claiming they have the virus.
Wolverhampton councillor and former city mayor Milkinder Jaspal said he was saddened by the increase in offences and that "some people will always hold racist views".