Since the murder of Stephen Lawrence, much progress has been made in tackling hate crime in the community – victims now have greater legal protection, the police and their partners have a better understanding of hate crime alongside improved responses, and enhanced sentencing powers available to the courts reflect the seriousness of offences. However, in 2010 48,000 hate crimes were reported to the police, whilst many more cases went unreported, indicating that there is still much work to be done before hate crime is eliminated in the UK.
Underlining its commitment to eradicating hate crime, the Government has launched a new national action plan, ‘Challenge it, Report it, Stop it: The Government’s Plan to Tackle Hate Crime’ (March 2012) which stresses the importance of addressing hate crime at a local level, with communities, professionals, elected police and crime commissioners and the voluntary sector working in partnership to deal with local issues and priorities.
Central to the action plan is the prevention of hate crime through challenging negative stereotypes, intolerance, prejudice and racism amongst the public, in the media and in sport, through promoting local shared identities, and by improving understanding based on a more comprehensive evidence base. When issues and tensions do occur, early intervention is crucial to ensure they are resolved before manifesting into hate crime.
With low reporting rates persisting, particularly amongst new migrant communities, the Gypsy Irish Traveller and Roma Communities, disabled and transgender victims, the action plan hopes to build confidence in the criminal justice system and make reporting a hate crime much easier. Better support will also be available when victims do come forward at both a national and local level.
In order to reduce the harm caused by hate crime, the plan seeks to improve operational responses and increase investigation rates. Stronger multi-agency working, with agencies identifying hate crimes early, managing cases jointly and dealing with offenders robustly will be crucial, alongside better police training and guidance. Sentencing will be reviewed to ensure successful prosecutions and effective rehabilitation.
This special symposium offers a timely opportunity for local authorities, community safety teams, equality and third sector practitioners and other key stakeholders to examine the Government’s new action plan and consider the next steps in tackling hate crime in all its forms and in every local community.
- Examine the Government’s new action plan and consider the next steps in tackling hate crime in every community
- Consider how to prevent hate crime by challenging harmful attitudes and behaviour in sport, media and amongst the public
- Consider how to build cohesive communities, addressing tension and promoting shared identities
- Assess how to increase reporting rates by raising confidence in the CJS and providing better support for victims
- Explore how to improve operational responses and deliver a joined-up approach across the CJS
To read more or book your place visit the Public Policy Exchange website.