Police have Glasgow's race hate thugs in firing line

RACISTS intent on carrying out vicious hate crimes are being warned that police are cracking down hard on thugs.

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The BBC TV footage that showed the racist attack by  Francis Muir on busker Melo in Sauchiehall Street. Muir was arrested, below right, and was later jailed for a total of 10 months
The BBC TV footage that showed the racist attack by Francis Muir on busker Melo in Sauchiehall Street. Muir was arrested, below right, and was later jailed for a total of 10 months

Terrified victims reported more than 900 racist incidents in Glasgow city centre in the last five years.

But tough action from frontline officers has seen sickening race crimes drop 37%.

Detection rates for hate crimes have also soared, with 85% of cases solved.

Figures released to the Evening Times show the number of city centre race crimes has fallen 37% since 2009/10.

There were 132 racist incidents in the nine months from April to the end of December, against 208 in the same period five years ago.

The figures come after high-profile incidents sparked an outcry in the city.

Police have dealt with scores of racially-motivated assaults, breach of the peace, disorder, and anti-social behaviour.

Hundreds of thousands of television viewers watched the shocking moment a busker was subjected to a shocking racist attack in Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow city centre.

Francis Muir's assault on a street entertainer, known as Melo, was captured by a crew who were filming BBC Scotland series The Street.

In the footage, Muir could be heard shouting a torrent of racial abuse at the African busker. Muir was eventually jailed for a total of 10 months after also being found guilty of a separate incident involving abuse of an Asian police officer while out on bail.

Police chiefs have vowed to continue their "zero tolerance" approach against racists, who assault and verbally attack their victims. City centre area commander Chief Inspector Alan Porte said: "Police Scotland is totally committed to reducing the harm caused by hate crimes.

"These abhorrent incidents can have a devastating effect on victims and their families.

"Officers have a zero tolerance approach to tackling crime based on prejudice. I want to make clear it will not be tolerated."

Last month police launched an investigation into an attack on a 30-year-old man in Gordon Street, near Central Station. He was subjected to a torrent of racist abuse, before being viciously attacked.

Detectives appealed to late-night revellers who may hold the key to catching the racist thug.

The incident was not recorded in the latest figures released to the Evening Times.

More than 230 victims reported a racist incident in Glasgow city centre, between April and January of 2010/11.

The figure dropped to 157 in 2011/12. However, there was a slight spike the following year, when incidents rose to 189.

Since last April, 132 racist crimes were reported in the city centre - but police have apprehended the culprit in 85% of these cases.

Officers welcomed the decreasing trend in incidents, but warned they would not become complacent.

Chief Inspector Porte said: "We have identified hate crime as a high priority and will continue to work hard and target this issue.

"It is vital we encourage more victims who suffer crimes to report them to the police or through third party reporting facilities.

"If you, or someone you know has been the victim of hate crime, then I would urge you to contact police.

"My message to anyone who commits a hate crime in Glasgow city centre is clear: you will be arrested and subjected to the full extent of the law."

Across Scotland, racist incidents recorded by police fell 14% in a year.

The most recent figures show the number dropped from 5389 in 2011-12 to 4628 in the past year.

Glasgow topped the table with 20 racist incidents per 10,000 people, followed by Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Official figures revealed a spike in racist incidents on Friday and Saturday nights, when 51% of the national total are reported.

Anyone with any concerns about hate crime is asked to call police on 101.

rebecca.gray@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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