THE number of anti-English and anti-Scottish incidents reported to police seems to have increased in the past year, despite figures showing a sharp decrease overall in racism across Scotland.

New figures released by the Scottish Government yesterday, show that offences against some minorities are on the decline, but racist crimes against white English people rose from 80 the previous year to 145 last year, and racist incident against white Scots increased from 350 to 379.

Officials warned the figures do not compare "like with like" as they do not include incidents from the former Grampian police force, while the previous year's do. Data from the old Strathclyde force on victim ethnicity is also missing.

Overall, there has been a 14% fall in race-related crime reported to police over the last 12 months.

Scottish Conservative justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell MSP said: "The overall fall in racist incidents in Scotland is welcome, and compares favourably with other countries. However, I am concerned that amid all the positive statistics is the fact anti-English sentiment appears to be on the increase.

"Although this still accounts for a small proportion of incidents, it is one of very few that is clearly moving in the wrong direction. With that in mind, it is essential as we approach next year's referendum that all sides keep the debate measured and fair."

Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham welcomed the overall fall, but said: "Racism is completely unacceptable and we cannot allow the actions of a minority to spoil this country's reputation as a warm, welcoming, tolerant nation where diversity is valued."

Glasgow topped the table with 20.5 racist incidents per 10,000 people, followed by Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Stirling.