SCOTLAND is getting tougher on those who commit corrosive “hate crimes” based on prejudice, the Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC, said today.
He was speaking ahead of the Biennial Conference on Hate Crime which takes place at Hampden today, jointly hosted with Steve Allen, Deputy Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders Police.
Speaking ahead of the conference, the Lord Advocate said: “We have come a long way since 2009 when new powers to tackle crimes of prejudice were made available to police and prosecutors. Our zero-tolerance prosecution policy for such offences sends a clear message that there is no place for bigotry and intolerance in modern Scotland.
“The conference today allows police, prosecutors and others with a particular interest in tackling such behaviour to share dialogue, experiences and ideas and to unite in condemning any behaviour motivated by prejudice, discrimination or bigotry.
“Nobody wants a diverse Scotland to be blighted by a narrow minded and hateful minority and our long term goal is to eradicate such corrosive behaviour.
“This will not happen over-night and we need the public to assist us by reporting all hate crimes to the police. They can have the confidence that all such crimes will be investigated carefully and prosecuted robustly.
“The introduction of the new legislation earlier this month will assist in investigating and prosecuting those who target and subsequently terrorise or abuse individuals online using threatening communication.”
Every man, woman and child has the right to live free from violence, and without fear of humiliation, harassment or abuse, based on prejudice. Make no mistake that the police and prosecution WILL work to change the culture of prejudice and hatred that exists in some quarters and to prosecute perpetrators of such crimes robustly.
Steve Allen, Deputy Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders Police said: “There is no place for hate crime in a modern and prosperous Scotland. Hate crime damages lives and prevents people being able to make the most of the opportunities society offers.
“There are still too many occasions when people are targeted because they are different, whether by race, faith, disability, gender or any other characteristic.
“We are determined to work alongside colleagues in the criminal justice system to do all in our power to prevent these crimes and to bring those who commit them to justice.
“This conference is an important part of that joint work and I am confident it will help drive our efforts forwards.”