THE number of reported Islamophobic hate crimes in Dorset has increased by more than double since the Brexit vote.

The figures, revealed by Dorset Police in a Freedom of Information request, show that there were 41 reported incidents in the 16 month period between June 23, 2016 and the end of November 2017.

This is up from 18 in the 18 months prior to the vote – an increase of 127% - with there being almost double the number in 2017 than the previous two years.

Hate Crime Lead for Dorset Police, Superintendent Jez Noyce, said: “Nobody should have to live with the fear and anxiety that hate crimes and incidents cause.

“Whilst I deplore any hate or prejudicial incidents I am encouraged by an apparent increase in the willingness of victims to come forward and report these incidents.”

A further Freedom of Information request shows that the total number of hate crimes in the first ten months of 2017 (208) was almost three times as much as the whole of 2013 (73).

Nathalie Sherring, Acting Chief Officer of Dorset Race Equality Council, said that it’s “difficult to say” whether the rise is because of Brexit.

“Some people have developed a certain level of resilience, other people will find it very, very difficult.

“We have seen an increase in anxiety, some people are not wanting to come out of their houses anymore.”

The UK voted for Brexit in June 2016, and all voting areas in the county were in favour of leaving.

However, 57.2% of people in Dorset voted leave, much higher than the 51.9% nationwide.

Supt. Noyce continued: “Dorset Police is encouraging victims to come forward in confidence either directly to the police, to supporting agencies or through third party reporting centres.

“We are committed to support any victims and protect all communities and groups from the harm of hate and prejudice.”