POLICE Scotland have issued data showing the number of hate crimes recorded in the first week of controversial new legislation being in force.

On April 1, the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act came into effect, making it an offence to stir up hatred against protected characteristics such as age, disability, and gender identity.

The legislation proved controversial as opponents claimed it could be weaponised by activists against opponents leading to a waste of police time.

READ MORE: 'Overwhelm them': Neo Nazi groups set out to spam hate crime system

However, experts dismissed misinformation around the act, arguing that media claims such as that comedians would be "targeted" was a "misunderstanding ... and ignores the defences inbuilt into the hate crime law".

Now, on the tenth day that the act has been in effect, police have released data showing the number of reports and hate crimes that have been recorded.

In a 16-page report, police said:

  • A total of 7152 online reports of alleged hate crimes had been made between April 1 and 7
  • Those reports led to 240 hate crimes being recorded
  • A total of 30 non-crime hate incidents were also recorded. This was higher than the number of non-crime hate incidents recorded in any entire year from 2019.

The Rangers vs Celtic Old Firm game over the weekend attracted controversy after pundit Ally McCoist claimed he and 48,000 others would be breaching the Hate Crime Act at the match.

The police data said that two crime reports were raised in relation to hate crime incidents linked to the game, which was held on April 7.

The figures show that April 1, the day the legislation came into effect, saw by far the highest number of hate crime reports.

By day, the number of hate crime reports logged by Police Scotland were:

  • April 1: 3419
  • April 2: 1359
  • April 3: 586
  • April 4: 961
  • April 5: 304
  • April 6: 180
  • April 7: 343

Although the number of reports varied hugely by day, the number of hate crimes recorded remained relatively consistent.

According to police data, the number of hate crimes recorded were:

  • April 1: 37
  • April 2: 39
  • April 3: 34
  • April 4: 36
  • April 5: 33
  • April 6: 30
  • April 7: 31

The police have further published which hate crime aggravator each record was linked to. Race was the most common, and variations in sex characteristics lowest. 

The number of hate crimes linked to each aggravator were:

  • Age: 21
  • Disability: 38
  • Race: 120
  • Religion: 21
  • Sexual orientation: 42
  • Transgender status: 8
  • Variations in sex characteristics: 0

Elsewhere, the police data said:

  • A total of 46 Freedom of Information requests connected to the Hate Crime Act had been submitted between April 1 and 7
  • Twelve subject access requests had been submitted to police
  • Sixteen complaints were submitted in relation to the Hate Crime Act
  • Just over four-fifths of police officers (80.49%) had completed training in relation to the Hate Crime Act

The police report further notes: "All statistics are provisional and should be treated as management information.

"All data have been extracted from Police Scotland internal systems and are correct as of April 8."

It adds: "Please note, due to the different sources of data being used, and the different methodology/counting rules, comparison of recorded hates crimes from April 1, 2024 with recorded hate crimes prior to April 1, 2024 would not be advised. Any comparison of the two datasets should be carried out with caution."