NEARLY half of recorded hate crimes in Scotland took place in Glasgow and Edinburgh, a report has found.

Just over a fifth of the country’s population lives in the two cities (21%) but they accounted for 48% of all hate crimes, Police Scotland recorded in 2017/18.

Glasgow had the highest rate of hate crimes in that period at 30 crimes per 10,000, followed by Edinburgh at 26, compared to a Scottish average of 12.

A Scottish Government report suggested this could relate to a relatively high level of ethnic diversity, with other factors suggested including greater nightlife, the number of daily workers, visitors and tourists and the number of demonstrations and large events.

The Northern and Western Isles had the lowest rates at under 0.5 hate crimes per 10,000 population.

A total of 6736 crimes were recorded on Police Scotland’s hate crime database in 2017/18. The vast majority – 67% – were racist, and the second most common target was sexual orientation. A further 7% were based on religion, with 4% victimising those with disabilities and 1% targeting transgender people. These proportions remained relatively consistent between 2014-15 and 2017-18.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “We are committed to tackling all forms of bigotry, prejudice and discrimination in Scotland

and I welcome the new information in this report.

“This shows that around two-thirds of hate crimes are race-related, underlining the importance of our on-going efforts to tackle racism wherever it occurs. We all have a role to play in stamping out all forms of prejudice and ensuring Scotland is the inclusive and forward-thinking society that we want to be.

“Our message to perpetrators is clear – this kind of hatred will not be tolerated in Scotland.

“We will continue to support Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority as they work to develop more detailed information on hate crime.”