The Liberal Democrats have warned of "systemic targeting" as hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community are up nearly 20% this year, new statistics have uncovered.
Statistics released by the Home Office today (13/10/20) reveals that hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation increased by the largest percentage of any group––19% from 13,314 incidents to 15,800.
Hate crimes against people who identify as transgender also rose by 16% to 2,500.
Nearly a quarter (23%) of reported hate crime against gay people included stalking and harassment, whilst this rose to 32% for transgender people.
It comes just three weeks after the Liberal Democrats revealed that gay people are also four times more likely to fall victim of personal crime, including muggings and pickpocketing.
In all four types of common crime analysed by the Liberal Democrats, gay people were at least twice as likely to be affected than heterosexuals.
The LGBTQ+ community is twice as likely to fall foul of fraud, including bank and credit card scams and theft, whilst personal theft is four times more likely.
Equal rights campaigner John Leech, who is no stranger to the LGBTQ+ community, warned that the country is in desperate need of change and laid the blame firmly at the Prime Minister's door for creating a toxic political and social atmosphere.
John Leech, who led the decade-long campaign to pardon Alan Turing who was criminally convicted for homosexuality, said:
"These figures show a horrifying backwards trend and point to a systemic targeting of the LGBTQ+ community.
"It is embarrassing that in 2020 in this country, the gay community has increasingly become the intentional victims of hate crime.
"But is it really that surprising when Boris Johnson’s Government doesn't just tolerate, but actively promotes a toxic political and social atmosphere?
"The extreme and divisive language from our own Prime Minister is destroying the soul of this country.
"Politics needs to change; education needs to change—this country needs to change. We must be an open-minded and inclusive society that doesn't just tolerate the differences in people, but actively celebrates them.
"We must teach our children to grow up to embrace everyone around them regardless of their background, and that must start with politicians taking a lead.
"Liberal Democrats have a long and proud history of standing up for the LGBTQ+ community, and the fight for equality can never end. We will always fight for a far kinder, more understanding and welcoming United Kingdom."