Sectarian incidents in North ‘at highest level since 2016’

Sectarian Incidents In North ‘At Highest Level Since 2016’
While the number of recorded hate incidents fell in the last year, sectarian incidents in the North increased. Photo: PA
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By Rebecca Black, PA

The number of recorded sectarian incidents in the North is at its highest level since 2016, according to police figures.

While there were fewer hate incidents recorded across most motivation strands between July 1st, 2022 and June 30th, 2023 from the previous year, sectarian incidents were up.


The number of recorded racist, sexual orientation, disability, faith/religion and transgender targeted incidents were down on the previous 12 months, according to the latest Police Service of Northern Ireland data compiled by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

There were 21 fewer racist crimes recorded, from 897 the previous year to 876, and 34 fewer racist incidents, from 1,301 the previous year to 1,267.

But in the same period there was an increase of 135 sectarian incidents, while the number of sectarian crimes rose by 139.


Some 1,084 sectarian incidents were recorded by police between July 2021-June 2022, which rose to 1,219, and 774 sectarian crimes recorded, which rose to 913.

Records show the level of sectarian incidents is the highest level since spring 2016.

The number of sectarian crimes fell to its lowest level in 2017/18, and while levels have since increased annually, the crime number recorded in 2022/23 is 37 per cent lower than the highest level recorded in 2005/06.

In terms of attacks on symbolic premises, there were 16 attacks on Orange Halls or Apprentice Boys of Derry halls, up from 14 in the previous year.


There were no recorded attacks on churches or chapels between July 2022-June 2023, down from six in the previous year.

Overall sectarian crimes were described as representing 0.8% of all police recorded crime.

Meanwhile, the latest figures also recorded a fall in sexual-orientation incidents and crimes, from 465 to 413 and from 333 to 271 respectively.

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Transgender identity incidents fell from 74 to 61, while the number of transgender identity crimes fell from 41 to 40


Disability incidents also decreased from 131 to 122 and crimes fell from 106 to 81.

Faith/religion incidents fell from 66 to 36 and crimes decreased from 51 to 24.

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