A hate incident is any incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility, hate or prejudice. If a hate incident breaks the law, it becomes a criminal offence and therefore a hate crime.
The dependence on perception clearly opens this up to abuse. The alleged victim may be genuine in their perception that they experienced hostility, hate or prejudice but this is of no value to police intelligence. Despite this, Nottinghamshire report hate incidents.