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Friday, 1 October 2010

Scottish Police pledge swifter response for homophobic and racist crimes


I am sorry, I really do not agree with this one and I say that as someone who has suffered homophobic crime twice in my lifetime, one was a mugging and the other was more serious.

Did I want the police to prioritise those crimes any differently to the occasion we were burgled, absolutely not, they were all crimes and I would want them treating no differently to any other crime.

The Scotsman was carrying this story earlier this week and Assistant Chief Constable Mike McCormick, of Lothian and Borders Police, said:
"We wanted to make sure our own staff were aware of the impact hate crime has.

This I agree with, informing all of the rank and file officers of the impact is a sensible aspect of this manual.

"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.
I don't agree with this and it certainly was not how I was feeling after any of the three crimes I have suffered (two homophobic and one other).

"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."
Again sensible, but did this really require the eight Police Forces of Scotland to bring together their best practice into one manual, or actually are we saying use your common sense?

The manual represents a promise to protect, not only ethnic minorities, but anyone who might be prejudiced against because of age, disability, gender including transgender, race including gypsy/travellers, religion or belief, and sexual orientation.

It is backed by new powers in the Offences Aggravated by Prejudice (Scotland) Act, which was passed in Scottish Parliament earlier this year.

All commons sense again, or as my Mum used to say, treat other people how you would expect to be treated, good advice that if a few more people took heed of, the society we live in can only benefit.

There was one part in the article that was spot on.

Sergeant Martin White, of the diversity unit at Lothian and Borders Police, one of the officers who wrote the manual, said:
"(Under the act] if someone is arrested for hate crime, we must look to put them before the courts as soon as possible, if not from custody then bailed to appear as soon as possible.

"In the courts, hate crime has to be recorded and reflected in the sentence. It gives the courts the chance to give an appropriate sentence."
But surely, every single victim of crime deserves that same right?

All crime has to be recorded and the sentence must reflect the crime.

My message to all Scottish Police Officers today is simple, once the crime is identified ensure the perpetrator is apprehended and pushed through the system.

My message to the courts and judges is also simple, ensure you act swiftly, take the accused off the streets and ensure the sentence fits and is carried out to completion, a weeks good behaviour behind bars doesn't help the victim, whoever they are.

Please let us not treat homophobic or racist crimes any different, crime is crime and if you commit crime, you should be punished - simples!


ANDiNATiON said...

I don't agree with you for once. Overall crime figures are down yet homophobic crime is rising. It must be tackled differently.

Hew said...

Homophobic crime has been disproportionately ignored in the past. Putting a focus on 'hate' crime is like reparation for the past injustices and a way to highlight to everyone that it will no longer be tolerated.

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