Hate crime figures in Dorset are at their lowest levels in six years.

Data from a freedom of information request has revealed that in 2023 there were 709 hate crimes recorded by Dorset Police in the county.

This means that the levels of hate crimes in the county have now dropped back to below pre pandemic numbers.

In 2020, there were 958 reported incidents and in 2021 there were 1,040 hate crimes recorded.

The numbers have also fallen by more than 100 on the previous year when 821 cases were recorded by Dorset Police in 2022.

However, whilst the figures are relatively low, the arrest and charge rates for hate crimes remains low.

Of the 709 hate crimes reported in 2023, only 63 led to an arrest and 55 led to a charge being made against the accused.

The data in the FOI also reveals how many of these hate crimes were based on sexual orientation and how many were directly targeted towards members of the transgender community.

Combined, in 2023, just over a quarter of hate crimes were based on sexually orientation or directed towards transgender people.

This is the highest percentage in the last six years.

Last year there were no charges or arrests made from 35 recorded hate crimes involving a transgender person, with just 13 arrests and 14 people charged with an offence from 154 reported incidents that related to sexual orientation.

Dorset Police has said that they remain ‘committed’ in their pursuit of bringing people to justice and that hate crimes ‘are not tolerated’.

A spokesperson for Dorset Police said: “Dorset Police takes all reports of hate crime seriously and victims of criminal offences motivated by hatred of any kind can be assured that we will support them and carry out a full and thorough investigation.

“While thankfully the number of reported incidents in the county is relatively low and overall reports of hate crime are at the lowest rate for several years, our message remains very clear: hate crimes are not tolerated in our communities.

“We are committed to bringing offenders to justice as we work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure offenders who are prosecuted for a hate crime receive an increased sentence, in line with existing legislation.

"We also work with a number of key partners to support victims and we look to engage proactively with minority communities who may be targeted.

"If you are a victim or witness of a hate crime or incident, please report it to Dorset Police online at dorset.police.uk/do-it-online and click on the ‘report a hate crime’ button. Alternatively if you wish to speak to someone call 101. In an emergency always dial 999."