Hate crime in Fife is on the rise – with staff in restaurants and takeaways in Kirkcaldy most likely to be on the receiving end of abuse.
There were 442 incidents recorded in 2013/14 across Fife, compared to 344 in 2012/13, an increase of 28 per cent.
Town centres generate a number of reports relating to verbal abuse against staff working in the night-time economyFife CSP manager Tim Kendrick
Around one in four of those incidents – 103 – took place in Kirkcaldy, higher than any other area of Fife.
While the rise may be due partly to efforts being made to increase awareness and encourage reporting of hate crimes, there have been calls for more to be done to prevent such incidents happening in the first place.
Fife Community Safety Partnership (CSP), in its annual report on hate incidents presented to the Council’s safer communities committee, highlighted most incidents took place in town centres, and 77 per cent related to race or ethnicity.
In the report, Fife CSP manager Tim Kendrick said: “Town centres generate a number of reports relating to verbal abuse against staff working in the night-time economy.”
Much of it came from drunken revellers who were abusive towards restaurant and takeaway workers.
As well as race and ethnicity, there were cases reported relating to factors including sexual orientation, religion, diability, age and gender.
Around two thirds of incidents reported to the police related to threatening behaviour and people acting in a racially aggravated manner. There were also 15 charges of assault. One in 10 charges related to ‘e-crimes’ – obscene, indecent, offensive and menacing messages sent by email or on social media platforms and websites.
FRAE Fife, a group promoting race awareness and equality, has acknowledged improved reporting of hate crime may account for some of the increase, but wants to see further investigation and more initiatives to prevent hate incidents.