REPORTS of racial hate crime increased by more than 50 per cent across Dorset in the four years before the coronavirus pandemic.

Home Office data reveals a record number of race hate crimes were recorded by police forces in England and Wales in 2019-20 – the latest available figures.

Dorset Police recorded 489 crimes during the period – an increase of 59 per cent compared to 2015-16, when 308 incidents were reported.

Across England and Wales, police recorded 76,070 racial hate crimes in 2019-20 – the equivalent of more than 200 a day – and the highest number since comparable records began in 2011-12.

The figure, which did not include data from Greater Manchester Police, was a six per cent rise from 72,041 in 2018-19, and up by two-thirds from 2015-16, when 45,440 were reported.

Superintendent Alan Setchell for Dorset Police said: “Dorset Police takes every report of crime seriously, especially hate crimes, which receive a significant level of supervision and scrutiny.

“As a police force we are committed to supporting victims of crime and bringing offenders to justice. We work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure offenders who are prosecuted for a hate crime receive an increased sentence, in line with the legislation.

“We know from the Crime Survey for England and Wales that hate crimes are widely unreported and we are focused on reducing the gap between the survey and reported crime by building trust and confidence with our communities and by ensuring that reporting methods are widely known.

“Dorset Police and third party reporting centres have used awareness campaigns to make it clear that hate crimes will not be tolerated and to report matters to the police. An example of one of the campaigns can be found here:

“The message is very clear, hate crimes are not tolerated in our communities. If you are a victim or witness of a hate crime or incident, please report it to Dorset Police online at and click on the ‘Report a hate crime’ button. Alternatively, if you wish to speak to someone, call 101. In an emergency always dial 999.”