As the nation reacts to the racist abuse suffered by three of England's footballers, analysis of the latest figures reveals how racial hate crime increased in Cumbria in the four years before the coronavirus pandemic.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all received online racist abuse after missing penalties in the Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy on Sunday night.

The comments have prompted a police investigation and widespread condemnation, including from England's manager Gareth Southgate, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince William.

There is increase pressure on social media companies to do more to combat online abuse.

A petition calling for it to be a legal requirement to provide proof of identification when creating a social media account currently has 660,000 signatures.

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BME) organisation, AWAZ Cumbria has called on the government and companies to respond “immediately” to rising cases of abuse.

A spokesperson for AWAZ Cumbria said: “Leadership on race equality should come from the very top and they should take responsibility.

“It is incumbent on our leaders to set a high standard for our nation to follow.

“Racial equality is a matter of basic rights, there is no place for racism in our country or in Cumbria.

“It’s the responsibility of corporates to respond immediately to online racist abuse and deal with the perpetrators of racism.

“There is no place for Racism in society or online.”

Cumbria Constabulary recorded 409 crimes during the period – an increase of 89% compared to 2015-16, when 216 incidents were reported.

They also marked a 34% rise from 2018-19, when 305 racial hate crimes were reported.

Across England and Wales, police recorded 76,070 racial hate crimes in 2019-20 – the equivalent of more than 200 a day, and the highest number since comparable records began in 2011-12.

A Facebook Company spokesperson said: "No one should have to experience racist abuse anywhere, and we don’t want it on Instagram.

"We continue to remove comments - including those that contain emojis - and accounts that have directed abuse at England’s footballers since the final on Sunday.

"In addition to our work to remove this content, our dedicated law enforcement outreach team is already in touch with the relevant authorities to give support with these recent incidents of abuse.

"We will respond to valid legal requests for information as quickly as possible, and are confident that the information we provide is helpful to police investigations.  "No one thing will fix this challenge overnight, but we’re committed to keeping our community safe from abuse."