Nealy half of Scots believe the Hate Crime Act should be scrapped, a poll has suggested.

The poll by Savanta on behalf of The Scotsman newspaper found 49% thought the law should be repealed, 36% said it should be kept and 15% said they did not know.

The research comes after it emerged over the weekend that the number of hate crime complaints reported to Police Scotland under the new legislation reached almost 10,000 in just over a month.

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act came into effect on April 1 and more than 7,000 complaints were made online in the first week.

READ MORE: Hate crimes in Scotland decrease in second week of new laws

The Act consolidates existing hate crime legislation and creates a new stirring-up offence for some protected characteristics but critics have suggested it could have a chilling effect on free speech.

The Herald:

The Scottish Conservatives proposed a motion at Holyrood last month to have the law repealed but it was voted down by 69 votes to 49 with five abstentions.

The Savanta poll for The Scotsman found 56% of men believed the law should be scrapped compared to 43% of women.

It also found 62% of people aged 55 or over thought the Act should be revoked while only 34% of those aged 16 to 34 thought the same.

The research further found 74% of those who voted Conservative in the last general election believed the legislation should be repealed, compared to 41% of SNP voters.

READ MORE: From energy efficiency diktats to juryless trials, give Scots a break

Chris Hopkins, political research director at Savanta, told The Scotsman: “Our research suggests a gender and generational divide in the Scottish public’s views towards the Hate Crime Act.

“Simply put, if you’re older or male, you’re much more likely to want the law to be repealed than someone who is younger or female. SNP voters are the only party supporters where a higher proportion want the Hate Crime Act to remain in place than not.

Savanta interviewed 1,080 Scottish adults aged 16 and over online between May 3-8.