Action against hate
Last week (26 July 2016), the new Home Secretary Amber Rudd published a new Hate Crime Action Plan which sets out the government’s plans to deal with hate crime in England and Wales until May 2020.
It outlines actions the government will take to:
- prevent and respond to hate crime
- increase reporting of hate crime incidents
- improve support for victims
- build an understanding of hate crime
The hate crime action plan has been developed in partnership with communities and departments across government. It contains measures to increase reporting of incidents and crimes, including working with communities and police to develop third party reporting centres. It covers work to prevent hate crimes on public transport and sets out how stronger support will be provided for victims.
A £2.4 million funding scheme for places of worship will provide security measures and equipment for sites that need increased protection. Representatives from religious communities have raised concerns about crimes which range from graffiti to arson attacks. The scheme will be open for bids for 10 weeks.
The government is taking action against hate at every level and will provide £300,000 to establish 3 community demonstration projects to explore innovative new ways of tacking hate crime in local communities. These projects will cover different strands of hate crime across England and Wales and seek to apply lessons from these projects across wider work to tackle all strands of hate crime.
Ms Rudd announced that the hate crime action plan will commit government to work to give young people and teachers the tools they need to tackle hatred and prejudice, including through a new programme to equip teachers to facilitate conversations around international events and the impact they have on communities here in the UK. The government will also work with schools on how to better report incidents of hate crime.
There will be a new assessment of the level of anti-Muslim, anti-semitic, homophobic, racist and other bullying in schools to inform further action to reduce levels of such bullying. Recent statistics from the National Police Chiefs Council have shown that young people were the victims of 10% of faith hate crime and 8% of race hate crime for the 3 week period between 16 June and 7 July 2016.
The Home Secretary also announced plans to commission Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to carry out a scoping study into forces’ understanding of (and response to) hate crime. The study will look at how police forces deal with hate crime, and will look at all strands including disability hate crime.
Launching the action plan, the Home Secretary Amber Rudd echoed Theresa May’s new version of a one nation government, saying:
This government is determined to build a Britain that works for everyone.
Those who practise hatred send out a message that it’s okay to abuse and attack others because of their nationality, ethnicity or religious background. That it’s okay to disregard our shared values and promote the intolerance that causes enormous harm to communities and individuals.
Well, I have a very clear message for them. We will not stand for it. Hatred has no place whatsoever in a 21st century Great Britain that works for everyone.
We are Great Britain because we are united by values such as democracy, free speech, mutual respect and opportunity for all. We are the sum of all our parts – a proud, diverse society. Hatred does not get a seat at the table, and we will do everything we can to stamp it out.