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Homophobic hate crime has reached its highest level on record in both Aberdeen and Dundee, official figures show.

Annual statistics released by the Crown Office show that crimes motivated by sexual orientation hit a new record in both cities, since it was made an aggravating factor in 2010.

In Aberdeen, there were 99, up 68% from 59 in 2018-19, and in Dundee there were 69, up 41% from 49 last year.

Offences across Scotland rose in the last year, with a total of 5,219 reported in total, up from 4,686 in 2018-19.

Deejay Bullock, the founder of Aberdeen-based LGBT support charity Four Pillars, said he was “very alarmed” to hear sexually motivated hate crimes had risen significantly in the last year.

He added: “I don’t believe this can be attributed to increase reporting, which means there is a current increase in hate crimes on the LGBT + community.

“This is not acceptable and we will be working with Police Scotland immediately to establish a strategy to combat htis rise and any future crimes.”

A total of 45 homophobic hate crimes were reported by the Kirkcaldy Procurator Fiscal office in the last year, down 6% from 2018-19 when there were 48.

Stefan Hoggan-Radu, who hails from North-east Fife, and his husband, have personal experience of homophobic hate crime.

The 27-year-old, who is seeking nomination to become the SNP candidate for North East Fife in the Holyrood elections next year, said: “We were sitting in our car not long after the Queensferry Crossing opened and there was a lot of traffic so we were sitting in the traffic when a van pulled up beside us and I had my window down and he was filming us and he started shouting homophobic abuse at us out of his window.

“I haven’t been out as gay that long, only about five years, so my fiancee, now husband, and I were just chilling in the car after a good day in Edinburgh and were just driving back and just to have not only the abuse shouted at us, which I’ve never had directly to my face before but also film it, really upset me.

“It was very upsetting, mainly because it’s totally unnecessary in this day and age.

“You can say what you like, your opinion can be what you like, but if you are stirring up hate against a particular group or you are being violent, vicious or mean against any particular group or person, that is not freedom of speech. That’s hate and that’s completely different.”

The statistics show that race crimes were also up across Aberdeen and Dundee in the last year, despite falling in recent years.

They were up 15% in the Granite City, where 177 were recorded, up from 154 in 2018-19, – though such crimes have fallen from a peak of 376 in 2011-12.

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