Hate Crime Post-Brexit: Migrant Experiences of Hate Crime in Lincolnshire


Dr Karen Lumsden, Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University

Dr Alex Black, Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University

Police force / partners collaborating: Lincolnshire Police (including Hate Crime Officer) and community groups in Lincolnshire



The common definition of a hate crime or incident is: “Any crime or incident where the perpetrator’s hostility or prejudice against an identifiable group of people is a factor in determining who is victimised” (College of Policing, 2014). There are five monitored strands of hate crime including: race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender. However, other groups are also the target of hate crimes and incidents and the police are required to monitor these also. Recent reports by the Institute of Race Relations (2010) demonstrate how the geography of racist hate crimes has changed in recent years moving from taking place in predominantly urban areas with long histories of racial tensions into smaller suburban areas. The scope of racist hate crime has also changed to include asylum seekers, migrant workers and foreign nationals amongst those targeted. In the current context of austerity, anti-immigration sentiment in the UK has increased alongside the expansion of the European Union through the accession of new member states (Burnett, 2013).

Hate crimes against migrant populations have further increased leading up to, and in the wake of Brexit-, the referendum over the UK’s membership in the European Union (Lyons, 2016). There is therefore a need for greater research into the experiences of victims of hate crime and the police response and support for victims.

This study with Lincolnshire Police will explore the experiences of hate crime amongst sections of Lincolnshire’s migrant population. Each area within Greater Lincolnshire voted to leave the EU, giving it the highest leave vote in the country and in the weeks before and after the vote there was a spike in reported hate crimes (Stone, 2016), making this research necessary and timely. The study will explore the types of hate crime and incidents experienced, the reasons why a person may or may not report hate crime to the police, and the police response to reported hate crime.


Research aims

  • To explore the experiences of hate crime amongst Lincolnshire’s migrant communities, particularly those migrants from new EU member states.
  • To understand the impact of these experiences on victims’ use of (and access to) public spaces (including online spaces).
  • To explore reporting of hate crime and the factors, which encourage / deter victims to report hate crime to the authorities.
  • To explore victims’ perceptions of the police response to hate crime. What was the response like, how were they treated, and how might the response have been improved?
  • To explore the impact of Brexit on migrant experiences of hate crime.



  • Qualitative study and interpretivist approach.
  • Access to participants provided via Lincolnshire Police contacts with local community groups including the Polish community.
  • 20 semi-structured interviews with victims of hate crime from migrant communities (particularly those from the new EU member states).
  • Thematic analysis of data either manually or using NVivo.



Project plan summary Proposed timeframe

Meetings with Lincolnshire Police Hate Crime Officer to develop collaborative project and research questions/aims


Aug 16


Development of data collection tools including interview schedule


Aug 16


Recruitment of participants in Lincolnshire


Sept 16


Ethical approval sought from Loughborough University


Sept 16


Data collection – conduct interviews with migrants in Lincolnshire


Oct -Dec 16


Analysis of data


Jan 17


Writing up of findings – report and blog post for EMPAC Knowledge Hub.


Feb 17


Research completed


March 17


Presentation of findings to Lincolnshire Police


March 17


Presentation of findings at EMPAC annual conference


March 17


Presentation of findings at British Society of Criminology Annual Conference (Sheffield)


July 17


Submission of journal articles to peer-reviewed journals including Sociology.


Sept 17