Donald Trump has been accused of fuelling hate crime with a tweet erroneously linking a rise in the UK crime rate to “radical Islamic terror”.
He said crime in the UK had risen by 13% amid the “spread” of Islamist terror – despite the figure referring to all crimes, not just terrorism.
The Labour MP, Yvette Cooper, said the statement was “inflammatory and ignorant”, while ex-Labour leader Ed Miliband said Mr Trump was “a moron”.
The Home Office declined to comment.
Mr Trump’s tweet used data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS)’s latest crime update, which reported a 13% increase across all offences in the 12 months to June.
It covered England and Wales, not the whole of the UK.
Police recorded 5.2m offences in the last year, the bulk of which were not associated with terrorism.
Rises were recorded in crime public order offences, stalking and harassment, possession of weapons and robbery.
The statistics – which made no reference to “radical Islamic terror” – showed that 35 out of the 664 homicides in England and Wales were caused by terror attacks in London and Manchester.
US media outlets have speculated whether Mr Trump’s tweet followed a TV report on One America News Network, a conservative TV channel, which aired the statistics on Friday morning.
Reality Check: Did the president have a point?
By Danny Shaw, BBC home affairs correspondent:
Donald Trump is half right.
Crime has gone up by 13% – but not in the UK. The increase announced yesterday covered England and Wales whereas Scotland and Northern Ireland publish their data separately.
But overlooking that mistake, what about the phrase that appears to connect the increase to the “spread of radical Islamic terror”?
The number of cases of murder and attempted murder linked to Islamist-related extremism, has indeed gone up substantially.
Of the 664 homicides recorded in the year ending June 2017, 34 resulted from the Westminster Bridge, Manchester Arena and London Bridge attacks – there were no such deaths last year.
The attacks also accounted for the majority of the 426 additional attempted murders registered by police.
Arrests for terror-related offences went up as well, from 226 to 379, across England, Wales and Scotland, though that number also includes people detained for far-right extremism.
But in terms of overall offending, this increase in terror-related crime represents a fraction, when you consider that there were an extra 579,553 offences recorded by police compared with the year before.
However, the tweet sparked a fierce backlash in the UK and was widely condemned on social media.
Labour MP Yvette Cooper, chair of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said Mr Trump’s comments could fuel hate crime.
She said: “Hate crime in the UK has gone up by almost 30% and rubbish like this tweet from Donald Trump is designed to provoke even more of it.
“If we are to properly tackle hate crime and every other crime, we have to challenge this kind of nonsense.”
Conservative backbencher Nicholas Soames, grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, called the US president a “daft twerp” who needed to “fix gun control”.
Lib Dem deputy leader Jo Swinson also responded to the president’s tweet, accusing him of “misleading and spreading fear”.
In September, the US president was criticised for a tweet claiming that the “sick and demented people” behind the partially-exploded bomb at a London Tube station were “in the sights of Scotland Yard”.
The Metropolitan Police described his tweet as “unhelpful”.
He had earlier lashed out at Sadiq Khan, tweeting that the London mayor had offered a “pathetic excuse” to Londoners after the London Bridge terror attack by telling people not to be alarmed.
The Office for National Statistics said it would not comment on Mr Trump’s tweet, but added that the survey relates to all crimes in England and Wales between 2016 and 2017.
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