Scottish Police services have pledged to increase their efforts to tackle racist attacks and other forms of hate crimes,
A new hate-crime manual has been launched aimed bringing about a huge cultural change in policing throughout Scotland.
Police have stressed that victims from minorities suffer more acutely when a crime is motivated by racism or prejudice. The profound psychological effect on the individual is to leave minorities living on fear and restricting their quality of life.
Assistant Chief Constable Mike McCormick, of Lothian and Borders Police, said:
“It has a much more significant effect on victims and I want people to pick up on that. ”If people say ‘I had not meant any harm’ it was just a bit of loose language, we’re saying think hard before you say something. And we want victims of hate crime to know this is how we feel.”
The new hate crime manual seeks to consolidate best practice of all Scottish police services into a single standard.
Promising to protect all minorities from hate crime including those who suffer violent attacks or harassment because of their race, disability, gender including gypsy/travellers, religion or belief or sexuality
Scotland introduced new legislation to tackle hate crimes earlier this year when the Scottish Parliament introduced the Offences Aggravated by Prejudice (Scotland) Act.
Chief Constable Ian Latimer, chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers equality and diversity forum, said: “The manual, developed in consultation with partner agencies and victim support charities, gathers best practice and provides officers with guidance on how to recognise and investigate hate crime.”
Scottish Justice secretary Kenny Mac-Askill said: “We live in a modern Scotland where there is no excuse for hate crime of any form. This new ACPO guidance has my full support.”
Whilst Ros Micklem, National Director Scotland for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:
“We wanted to make sure our own staff were aware of the impact hate crime has. ”
“If you punch me in the nose because you don’t like me because of the colour of my skin, race, sexuality or whatever, that has a longer effect because I’m thinking that not only does this person not like me, but lots of other people won’t like me either. ”
“If someone is already struggling with a disability then a hate crime can leave them thinking not only do I have a physical problem, but I also have a social problem because people don’t like me.
“Recognition of the corrosive impact of hate crime upon individuals and communities is clear in this manual, as is the determination to continue to work with communities to provide an effective response.”