REPORTS of racial hate crime in Sussex have jumped by more than 50 per cent over the four years before the pandemic.

Sussex Police recorded 1,791 crimes in 2019-20, an increase of 52 per cent compared to 2015-16, when 1,175 incidents were reported.

The figures also marked an 18 per cent rise from 2018-19, when 1,523 racial hate crimes were reported.

Across England and Wales, police recorded 76,070 racial hate crimes in 2019-20, equivalent to more than 200 a day and a two-thirds increase from four years previously.

The figure did not include data from Greater Manchester Police.

The Home Office explained that the increase is partly down to improvements in reporting and awareness of hate crime, as well as events like the EU referendum in 2016 and the terror attacks of 2017.

Charity Victim Support fears that other events, such as the murder of George Floyd last year, has likely driven a further increase in reports.

Services director Jo Parks said: “We’ve been concerned to see rising reports of 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 re-build.”

The news comes after widespread condemnation of racist abuse suffered by three England football players online after missing penalties in the final of Euro 2020. Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka faced abusive comments on social media after the match last Sunday.