Surrey saw fewer hate crimes committed against transgender people in 2022-23 than during the year before, new figures show.

The Home Office says public discussion by political leaders and the media could be behind a rise in transphobic hate crime across the country.

New figures from the Home Office show Surrey Police recorded 89 hate crimes against transgender people in the year to March – a slight fall from 90 in 2021-22.

This is despite an 11% rise in anti-transgender offences across England and Wales, with more than 4,700 crimes recorded in 2022-23.

Responding to the figures, LGBTQ+ group Stonewall criticised political leaders for not having acted "seriously or quickly enough" against hate crime.

The charity further added: "Many of them are filling the public domain with toxic language that dehumanises LGBTQ+ people".

In its write-up of the statistics, the Home Office said: "Transgender issues have been heavily discussed by politicians, the media and on social media over the last year, which may have led to an increase in these offences, or more awareness in the police in the identification and recording of these crimes."

Surrey Police recorded 2,329 hate crimes in 2022-23 – up from 2,269 the year before.

Among these, 1,648 offences (71%) were motivated by race or ethnicity, 342 (15%) by sexual orientation, 126 (5%) by religious belief, while 250 crimes (11%) were against those with disabilities.

Individual offences can have more than one motivating factor.

Last year saw the first recorded drop in hate crime offences across England and Wales – falling from 153,500 in 2021-22 to 145,200 in the year to March.

These figures do not include Devon and Cornwall Police, which could not provide figures because of an issue with a new IT system.

Victim Support – a charity for those impacted by crime and abuse – suggested declining trust in police forces across the country could be responsible for the drop in police-recorded hate crimes.

Becca Rosenthal, national hate crime lead at the charity, said: "Those we support increasingly tell us that they are reluctant to approach the police, so these figures could simply reflect less people reporting to the police. Given this, independent support services for victims have never been more important."

A spokesperson for the Home Office said there is "no place for hate in our society" and the Government remains "committed to ensuring these abhorrent offences are stamped out".

They added: "We are pleased there has been an overall reduction in hate crimes recorded by police, and the numbers of sexual orientation, race and disability hate crimes all fell. But any instance is one too many.

"We expect the police to fully investigate these hateful attacks and make sure the cowards who commit them feel the full force of the law."