WILTSHIRE Police saw a rise in reported racial hate crimes over the past few years, figures reveal. 

Three of England’s footballers Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka have been subjected to online racist abuse after missing penalties in the Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy on July 11. 

The comments, which have prompted a police investigation, follows a rise in reported race hate crime nationally during the pandemic, charity Victim Support said.

Home Office data reveals a record number of race hate crimes were recorded by police forces in England and Wales in 2019-20 – the latest available figures.

Wiltshire Police recorded 507 crimes during the period – an increase of 33 per cent compared to 2015-16, when 382 incidents were reported.

They also marked a four per cent rise from 2018-19, when 487 racial hate crimes were reported.

Services director for Victim Support Jo Parks said: “We’ve been concerned to see rising reports of race hate crime throughout the pandemic and have seen significant increases in the number of victims coming to us for support.

“These hate crimes have had a damaging impact on victims’ safety and sense of self-worth, which can take years to rebuild.”

The incident has also seen a fresh wave of support for model Katie Price’s online petition aimed at making it more difficult for online trolls to be anonymous.

The petition – which now has more than 680,000 signatures – wants to make it a legal requirement for anyone opening a new social media account to provide a verified form of ID.

As of around 11am on Wednesday, July 14, 53,603 people from across the south west had lent their names to the petition.

In the wake of the racist abuse of the England footballers, home secretary Priti Patel is now urging social media firms to take tougher action over racism ahead.

She said: “Racist abuse is utterly unacceptable and illegal, whether it takes place on or offline – those individuals who commit racist offences should rightly face the full force of the law.”

Across England and Wales, police recorded 76,070 racial hate crimes in 2019-20 – the equivalent of more than 200 a day, and the highest number since comparable records began in 2011-12.

The figure, which did not include data from Greater Manchester Police, was a six per cent rise from 72,041 in 2018-19, and up by two-thirds from 2015-16, when 45,440 were reported.