Racially aggravated offences include racist violence, harassment and criminal damage. Racially motivated crime does not simply injure the victim or their property, it affects the whole of the victim's family and erodes the standards of decency of the wider community. Trust and understanding built up over many years between communities can be eroded by the climate of fear and anxiety which surrounds a racist incident.
An offence is held to be racially aggravated if the offender at the time of committing the offence, or immediately before or after doing so, demonstrates racial hostility towards the victim, or if the offence is motivated wholly or partly by racial hostility.
The number of racial incidents reported to the police in the United Kingdom has increased since 1989 from 5,044 to 13,151 reported in 1996/97.