A boy of THREE is quizzed by police for racism as number of children accused of hate crimes soars
More than a hundred children have been reported for hate crimes over the past year with those as young as three being investigated by police.
Figures obtained from 37 of 43 police forces in England and Wales showed that 138 incidents of racial or religious abuse by those under the age of 10 were reported last year - almost double the number of those reported in 2011.
Examples of the hate crimes being reported included both verbal and physical abuse.
A nine-year-old from Manchester who allegedly told a classmate 'my dad told me not to sit next to Jews' and an eight-year-old from Humberside accused of telling someone to 'go back to Poland' are among those being investigated according to the Mirror.
The three-year-old, who is also from Manchester, reportedly caused 'harassment, alarm or distress' to his victim.
One eight-year-old girl from Cheshire was accused of sustaining the abuse towards a female victim for two years.
In the south west, Devon and Cornwall Police are investigating a nine-year-old boy who was allegedly wielding a knife as he shouted racial abuse as well as an eight-year-old who reportedly said they would 'kill us all' about people of different religious beliefs.
Many of those being investigated are over racial or religious assault or slurs both in and outside the classroom but there are also incidents of arson and other more serious crimes.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, NPCC lead for Hate Crime, told MailOnline: 'Children under 10 are below the age of criminal responsibility. They cannot be prosecuted for any offence.
'Police can take reports of any hate incident but in cases involving children under 10 police will not take any criminal action against a child.
'Police may however work with families, schools and other agencies to ensure that there is a proportionate and age appropriate response to these issues.'
The shocking number of children being investigated comes as a spike in racially-led hate crimes are seen across the UK following Brexit.
There was a increase in the number of hate crime reported online following the EU Referendum according to the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC).
The NPCC said there were 85 reports made to True Vision, an online hate crime reporting site, between Thursday and Sunday after the referendum - a rise of 57 per cent compared to the 54 made on the corresponding four days four weeks earlier.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said at the time: 'At the national level, the vast majority of people are continuing to go about their lives in safety and security and there have been no major spikes in tensions reported.
'However, we are seeing an increase in reports of hate crime incidents to True Vision.
'This is similar to the trends following other major national or international events. In previous instances, crime levels returned to normal relatively quickly but we are monitoring the situation closely.'
Scotland Yard has also launched a number of investigations into hate crimes, including an incidence of offensive graffiti outside the Polish Social and Cultural Association in west London.