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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 August 2005, 08:01 GMT 09:01 UK
Race attacks show 'low' increase
Police said the increase was "relatively low"
Racist attacks in Scotland have risen by almost a quarter since the London bombings, according to police figures.

There were 438 incidents reported from 7 July to the end of the month. That was up by 79 on last year, with 64 of those directly linked to the bombings.

Senior officers said they were glad the increase was "relatively low" and that the figures showed people had adopted a mature attitude to the atrocities.

In London, religious hate crimes have risen six-fold since the bombings.

There were 269 religious hate crimes in the capital in the three weeks after 7 July, compared with 40 in the same period of 2004.

My plea to all of our communities is that the level of support and understanding continues
Chief Constable Peter Wilson

In Scotland, an average of 18 racist incidents were reported to police in July this year, compared to 15 a day last year.

Chief Constable Peter Wilson, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos), said there had been a "calm" response in Scotland.

"Any racist crime is unacceptable but I am glad to see the number being recorded is relatively low and has not risen sharply as a result of the London bombings," he said.

"The last thing we would have needed in Scotland would have been for our visible minority ethnic communities to have suffered as a result of misguided prejudices."

He said some communities, especially Muslim ones, were still feeling vulnerable.

"But it is also clear that there has not been a large upsurge of racist incidents since 7 July," he said.

"My plea to all of our communities is that the level of support and understanding continues.

"Scotland's eight police forces continue to work together to ensure that contingency plans are in place for any eventuality. That includes extra police presence wherever locally appropriate."

Glasgow Central Mosque
Malcolm Chisholm will meet Muslim community leaders in Glasgow
Mr Wilson said ethnic minority communities were becoming more confident in reporting crimes which would previously have gone unrecorded.

"However, there is no doubt that there will have been other low level incidents that have not yet been reported to police," he said.

"We encourage everyone to report this type of illegal and dangerous behaviour, from whatever quarter, for full police investigation as we are determined that there will be a very robust enforcement response to it."

Ali Jarvis, interim director of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) in Scotland said: "Let's not turn smoke into fire.

"While there has been some increase in the number of racial and religious incidents in Scotland since the London bombings and we do not seek to minimise the effect that these have had on individuals, in the circumstances the increase has not been as bad as we feared it might."

"The majority of people in Scotland seem to understand that while the perpetrators may have been Muslim they are not representative of the overwhelming majority of Muslims.

"For every example of racial abuse or attack, there is also an example of a non-Muslim reaching out to a Muslim with a message or gesture of friendship and support."

Police are investigating one incident where two Asians were racially attacked in Edinburgh by a gang who made comments about the London bombings.

The men were subjected to racist abuse and their car was vandalised near Leith Walk on Friday afternoon.

Private meeting

Meanwhile, representatives of the Muslim community will meet Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm on Thursday.

They will talk about their concerns following the London bombings in what is expected to be a mostly private meeting at Glasgow Central Mosque.

The Scottish Executive said the visit was part of continuing liaison between the government and multi faith groups.

Mr Chisholm has stressed the importance of building bridges between communities.

Muslim leaders to meet minister
04 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Hate crimes soar after bombings
03 Aug 05 |  London
Racist gang attack two Asian men
02 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Faith groups in talks with police
20 Jul 05 |  Scotland
Faiths unite to condemn bombings
08 Jul 05 |  Scotland

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