One in four racially and religiously motivated crimes in South Yorkshire were unsolved last year, according to new figures.
In the 12 months to September 2018, a total of 1,191 racially and religious motivated offences were recorded by South Yorkshire Police, with 318 cases – 27 per cent – closed without a suspect ever being identified.
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The figures, published by the Home Office, cover offences of racially or religiously aggravated assault with injury, assault without injury, harassment, criminal damage and aggravated public fear, alarm or distress.
Police forces in some parts of the country are closing nearly a half of their investigations into racially and religiously-aggravated offences without identifying a suspect, analysis shows.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission described the figures as ‘disappointing’, adding that victims of these offences often don't report what has happened to them ‘as they feel that the police won't take the incident seriously or have the power to act’.
Independent charity Victim Support warned the figures could undermine public confidence in the ability of the justice system to report hate crime.
The total number of racially and religiously-aggravated offences recorded by police forces has reached a new high, with 57,652 logged in the 12 months to September 2018.
The National Police Chiefs' Council said that while any rise in hate crime was concerning, the latest figures also reflect success in improving the reporting of such offences.
NPCC Lead for Hate Crime, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, said: "Unfortunately, with many cases, there are often no witnesses to these crimes and scarce evidence - this may lead to police being unable to identify a suspect. The police service has no tolerance for this type of abuse but we need to be made aware that crimes are taking place so that we can investigate - or better still, prevent them from happening.
South Yorkshire Police has been contacted for a comment.