According to The Big Issue In The North, Lancashire constabulary is to broaden the scope of incidents it will record as hate crimes to include offences against disabled and elderly people. They will also record incidents against what the magazine describes as “the growing number of people in the county from Poland, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Portugal.” The idea behind it is to help the police “better understand the nature of hate crime as defined by Home Office Guidelines.” They accept that hate crimes are widely under reported, both in and outside of Lancashire, and in and outside of Britain. In addition to these changes, the police are also encouraging people to
“report hate incidents at locations rather than police stations. Incidents can now be reported at churches, mosques, shops and libraries as well as via the Crimestoppers phoneline and on www.report-it.org.uk. Incidents can be reported 24 hours a day and anonymously.”
How this will all work in practice isn’t spelt out, but I would expect some sort of awareness campaign to be rolled out across Lancashire in the coming weeks and months. There was no mention of hate crimes against women, but I would still argue that the approach Lancashire is taking is a step forward because it recognises hate crimes against groups who have been targeted but have not seen crimes committed against them treated as hate crimes, and also because it aims to look at where crimes take place as well as who is being targeted, which would hopefully lead to better services.
(All quotes and information taken from Gopal, Kevin “Police improve hate crime records”, the Big Issue In The North, 21-27/4/08)