Donald Trump has been accused of fuelling hate crime with a tweet erroneously linking a rise in the UK crime rate to “radical Islamic terror”.
He said crime in the UK had risen by 13% amid the “spread” of Islamist terror – despite the figure referring to all crimes, not just terrorism.
The Labour MP, Yvette Cooper, said the statement was “inflammatory and ignorant”, while ex-Labour leader Ed Miliband said Mr Trump was “a moron”.
The Home Office declined to comment.
Just out report: "United Kingdom crime rises 13% annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror." Not good, we must keep America safe!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2017
Mr Trump’s tweet used data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS)’s latest crime update, which reported a 13% increase across all offences in the 12 months to June.
It covered England and Wales, not the whole of the UK.
Police recorded 5.2m offences in the last year, the bulk of which were not associated with terrorism.
Rises were recorded in crime public order offences, stalking and harassment, possession of weapons and robbery.
The statistics – which made no reference to “radical Islamic terror” – showed that 35 out of the 664 homicides in England and Wales were caused by terror attacks in London and Manchester.
US media outlets have speculated whether Mr Trump’s tweet followed a TV report on One America News Network, a conservative TV channel, which aired the statistics on Friday morning.
Donald Trump is half right.
Crime has gone up by 13% – but not in the UK. The increase announced yesterday covered England and Wales whereas Scotland and Northern Ireland publish their data separately.
But overlooking that mistake, what about the phrase that appears to connect the increase to the “spread of radical Islamic terror”?
The number of cases of murder and attempted murder linked to Islamist-related extremism, has indeed gone up substantially.
Of the 664 homicides recorded in the year ending June 2017, 34 resulted from the Westminster Bridge, Manchester Arena and London Bridge attacks – there were no such deaths last year.
The attacks also accounted for the majority of the 426 additional attempted murders registered by police.
Arrests for terror-related offences went up as well, from 226 to 379, across England, Wales and Scotland, though that number also includes people detained for far-right extremism.
But in terms of overall offending, this increase in terror-related crime represents a fraction, when you consider that there were an extra 579,553 offences recorded by police compared with the year before.