A big rise in 2021 hate crime numbers was down to pandemic restrictions and ‘radicalised’ political debate according to the office of Spain’s Attorney General.

Hate crimes leapt up by 27% last year compared to 2020, with a 175% increase in hate crime-related online comments or recruitment to extremist groups.

New protocols have since been introduced by police cyber specialists to try to track down offenders.

A strongly-worded report from the Attorney General’s office said that ‘some crimes not only threaten the individual rights of people, but also call into question constitutional principles and the democratic model of peaceful coexistence’.

The report continued: “Society demands a firm criminal response, as well as effective protection and reparation for victims.”

Specialist police units to counter hate crimes were launched in July.

The Attorney General’s Office described the units as a ‘boost’ to tackle this type of crime which often manifests itself in ‘anonymous form on social networks’.

1,824 criminal proceedings were opened last year with indictments going up to 195 from 135 in 2020.

The most common hate crimes were racism and xenophobia, with 38.5%; sexual and gender orientation and identity, with 25%; and political ideology with 19.2%.


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