Brexit does not legitimise racist assaults, warns police commissioner
Wiltshire’s police and crime commissioner has been compelled to remind perpetrators of racial hatred that their actions – online or face-to-face – are illegal.
The move comes following last week’s referendum, which saw Britain vote to leave the EU. Reports of verbal and physical racist incidents have increased, in Wiltshire and elsewhere, since the result was announced on Friday.
Commissioner Angus Macpherson said: “The UK has a long-standing commitment to stamping out prejudice-fuelled crime.
“I am disturbed to see reported rises in racially-aggravated and religious incidents across the country since Friday morning.
“I am aware that Wiltshire Police is investigating a potentially racially-aggravated assault on a Polish woman in Salisbury on Friday evening.
“Some of these incidents are very serious, and suggest that there are people who feel that the result of Thursday’s vote somehow means that this is no longer criminal behaviour.
“On the contrary, in or out of Europe, they remain crimes and dealing with them effectively and robustly is a policing priority.
“Wiltshire Police is committed to bringing cases of such assaults, abuse or harassment before the courts. To commit such crimes is to risk a stiff sentence.”