What is a racist incident?

Racism, in general terms, consists of conduct or words or practices which advantage or disadvantage people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. In its more subtle form it is as damaging as in its overt form.

A racist incident is any “incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim, or any other person” (Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report).  The definition of a racist incident is not intended to prejudge the motives of the alleged perpetrator.  It is to ensure that the possibility of a racist dimension is given full consideration in the investigation of all incidents whenever the victim, or any other person reporting the incident, believes this to be the case.

Racist incidents can include criminal and non-criminal behaviour and can take various forms including verbal or written abuse, assault or threatening behaviour, criminal damage to property including arson, incitement or intimidation, nuisance and harassment.

Discrimination is unfavourable teatment of a person in an area of public life (for example, at work) due to one of their protected characteristics (under the Equality Act 2010). 

The Race Relations Act 1976 details four types of discrimination:

Direct discrimination

Indirect discrimination



Racially Motivated Attacks