Anti-Muslim activity reported in the wake of soldier Lee Rigby’s death was mainly online abuse which peaked on the day after the brutal killing, police chiefs have said.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said 71 incidents were reported to its national community tension team (NCTT) over five days after Drummer Rigby was hacked to death in Woolwich, south east London, on May 22.
Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Cotter, Acpo’s lead on national community tension, said that although exact figures were “unclear”, the number of incidents appeared to have now fallen.
“The numbers of hate crimes did peak and they are now reducing,” he said.
“In the main, the ones that have been quoted are online....it’s people’s opinions that people categorise as unpalatable.”
Speaking at a briefing at Acpo’s headquarters in central London, Mr Cotter confirmed a small percentage of the reported incidents were attacks on mosques and claims that Muslim women were having their head scarves removed.
True Vision, an online hate-crime reporting tool operated by Acpo, received 136 reports of anti-Muslim activity – internet or physical – via its website in the week after the Woolwich attack.
The number of complaints peaked on the day after the killing and have fallen since then, an Acpo spokesman said.
Tell Mama, the charity which monitors anti-Muslim incidents, said it received more than 150 reports of anti-Muslim activity in the days after Drummer Rigby’s death, compared with an average of four to eight incidents a day beforehand.