Police engagement with LGBT community on hate crime

Yesterday evening we attended an event hosted by Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), engaging with members of Edinburgh’s LGBT community.

The event was the first of a planned national process designed to give members of the public the opportunity to learn about action to tackle hate crime and make communities safer.

There was a fantastic turnout of people to take part in the discussion which covered all stages of the criminal justice system from reporting incidents right through to support in court.

One of the most telling facts from the night is that hate crime remains hugely under-reported with nearly half of all 13-25 year olds unaware of their rights under legislation. Given the deeply personal nature of hate crimes, in many cases individuals are reluctant to come forward. Information was provided at the event about alternatives to going directly to the police to report incidents.  You can find more detail from the Police Scotland website.

The event also highlighted ‘Intolerance‘, a new website created by the COPFS and North Lanarkshire Council. The site explores hate crime in Scotland, to lead young people to think about the implications of intolerant behaviour.

Many of the service users we work with have faced discrimination because of their sexuality and/or HIV or Hepatitis C status. It is a reminder that there can be no room for complacency in tackling discrimination and it’s great that authorities are reaching out.