BY Ian Dunn | October 6 | comments icon 3 COMMENTS     print icon print

3-POLICE-UNIFORMED-OFFICER

‘Hate crime’ reports to take precedence?

New guidance on crimes against homosexuals and minority groups is published

POLICE officers in Scotland should treat crimes against homosexuals and minority groups more seriously than general crimes against the public, according to controversial new ‘hate crime’ guidance.

The police are looking to increase the reporting of so-called ‘hate crimes’ by promising minority groups that they will see a swifter and more robust response to offenders. The Hate Crime Guidance Manual is being launched by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland.

The manual has sparked fears that police officers will be forced to investigate incidents that allegedly occurred a decade ago after warnings that officers could be flooded with old or unfounded allegations, hindering other important cases.

Open to abuse

Dr Gordon Macdonald, of CARE for Scotland, said the new system could be abused.

“The police could be swamped with frivolous, historic claims and that is in no one’s interest,” he said.

The guidance follows legislation introduced in Scotland earlier this year which stipulated that people who commit ‘hate crimes’ against homosexuals, transsexuals and the disabled will face tougher penalties.

“[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,” Sergeant Martin White, one of the officers behind the manual, said. “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.”

Unfairly targeted

Last week one of Britain’s top police officers warned that the police were chasing politically imposed targets instead of dealing with real crime, leaving ‘yobs’ to run amok.

Sir Denis O’Connor, chief inspector of constabulary, warned that bureaucratic targets imposed by central Government had skewed policing priorities.

Earlier this year a report by the Civitas think-tank cautioned that Christians in Britain were being unfairly targeted for hate crime prosecutions.

The report, entitled A New Inquisition: Religious Persecution in Britain Today, also warned that existing hate crime legislation poses a danger to freedom of speech.

The report cited the example of Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang who were prosecuted for a hate crime, under Section 5 of the Public Order Act, last year after they engaged in a breakfast debate about Islam with a guest at their hotel.

The couple, were declared innocent last December but the ordeal has caused the couple serious financial hardship.

By contrast the report also cited the example of a Muslim man who escaped prosecution for a hate crime despite defacing a war memorial with slogans such as ‘Islam will dominate the world— Osama is on his way.’

Comments - 3 Responses

  1. Philip McGhee says:

    As an American of Scottish ancestry (Ayrshire), I am somewhat reluctant to comment on political events in an other country, but there is a real danger here of glorifying the “gay” lifestyle, as totally co-equal with heterosexuality. Pope John Paul II warned about this,when he spoke of the “culture of death” Homosexuality,along with contraception, and abortion simply does not result in lfe. The “graying” of Europe proves this. I am not a “homophobe”. I even have “gay” friends (mostly ministers in other denominations). I do not support violence aginst gay and ther minorities.(People who do that really ought to see psychiatrists) But somehow, it is in society of interest to be exalting marriage and family, not homosexuality.

  2. Roberto says:

    Totally disagree with the above comment.Homosexuality isn’t glorified,it’s tolerated.And if a person is a good Christian,what does their sexuality matter?However,with regard to the article,there should be no such things as ‘hate crimes’.All crimes should be treated with equal seriousness.I don’t see why an assault on a homosexual should be treated more seriously than an assault on a married heterosexual.Assault is assault,and the punishment should fit the crime regardless of the sexuality of the victim.

  3. Prince says:

    @Philip McGhee

    Nobody is glorifying homosexuality. But we want equal rights for all.

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