Donald Trump has erroneously linked a rise in recorded crime in England and Wales to the “spread of radical Islamic terror” in his latest outburst on Twitter.
“Just out report: ‘United Kingdom crime rises 13% annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror.’ not good, we must keep America safe!” wrote the US president.
The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS), in its quarterly update on crime on Thursday, reported a 13% increase in all police-recorded offences across England and Wales.
The ONS said police had recorded 5.2m offences in the year to June, including gun crime, knife crime, robberies, sexual offences, stalking and harassment, burglary and car crime.
The report barely mentions terrorism other than to refer on one occasion to the impact recent terrorist attacks in Britain had on the headline murder rate. Thirty-five people were killed in the incidents in London and Manchester.
The president’s attention to the crime figures will not please Downing Street, as there were aspects of the ONS report that would have sounded political alarm bells, namely the acceleration in the rise in the number of police-recorded incidents of violent crime in the past two years. There were double-digit increases in certain types of violent crime, such as gun crime, knife crime and sexual offences.
The tweet was immediately seized on by far-right groups and commentators. It was retweeted by the former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson.
The newspaper columnist Katie Hopkins quoted Trump’s tweet with a reference to “child rape squads”, which was in turn retweeted by Paul Watson, the alt-right conspiracy theorist.