David Cameron has condemned “despicable” xenophobic abuse after the EU referendum as figures suggested a 57% increase in reported incidents.
The country would not stand for hate crime, the prime minister told MPs.
“In the past few days we have seen despicable graffiti daubed on a Polish community centre, we’ve seen verbal abuse hurled against individuals because they are members of ethnic minorities,” Cameron said.
“Let’s remember these people have come here and made a wonderful contribution to our country. We will not stand for hate crime or these kinds of attacks, they must be stamped out.”
Police believe there has been an increase in hate crimes and community tensions since last week’s referendum. Initial figures show an increase of 57% in reported incidents between Thursday and Sunday compared with the same days four weeks earlier, the National Police Chiefs’ Council said – 85 incidents were reported compared with 54 during the earlier period.
“It’s no coincidence this has come off the back of the EU vote,” said a police source.
Senior police chiefs have discussed how to respond amid concerns the continuing heated debate may contribute to heightened tensions.
Cameron’s condemnation came amid a growing chorus of concern over intolerance and hostility. The mayor of London and the UK’s biggest Muslim organisation spoke out against a spike in racist abuse in the aftermath of the referendum.
The Polish embassy in the UK said it was shocked…