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COPFS

Lord Advocate welcomes reductions in Hate Crime

The Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC, today welcomed the publication of figures which show a continued reduction overall in Hate Crime in Scotland.

New figures published today for 2014-15 show racial crimes down 9% on last year, the lowest level since 2003-2004Religiously aggravated offences were also down by 4% to their lowest level since 2004-2005. 

There was also a reduction of 6% in relation to Section 1 of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012.

For the first time since the introduction of the new aggravations in 2010, there has been a reduction in the number of charges relating to sexual orientation, namely 5%.

Speaking of the figures the Lord Advocate said:

“One of my key priorities as Lord Advocate is to tackle hate crime in Scotland and the figures published today show that Scotland is becoming a more tolerant and diverse country.There is no place for complacency though and we will continue to work to ensure the downward trend continues in the coming years.

“Although there are many positives in the figures there are some causes for concern. The number of cases Involving Islamophobia and anti semitism have both risen by 23 and 16 respectively. I want to reassure these communities that the full force of the law will be brought to bear on anyone engaging in this hateful and divisive conduct and would urge victims of all forms of hate crime to come forward and not suffer in silence.

“I’ve previously stated that I believed disability-related crimes were under reported compared to other hate crimes and feel that is still the case. Following a lot of hard work and interaction with the disabled community, however, this is beginning to change with an increase of 20% on last year. I would hope that in the disabled community increased confidence in police and prosecutors will encourage more people to report these crimes in future.

“I am particularly pleased to see racial and religiously aggravated offending at their lowest levels for a decade and football related hate crimes also reducing.

“There is absolutely no place in modern Scotland for individuals who commit crimes motivated by prejudice towards a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.

“A prosecution rate of more than 80% demonstrates that offending, motivated by prejudice, will not be tolerated and perpetrators will be dealt with robustly by Scotland’s prosecutors.”

ENDS

Note to Editors:



1. The Hate Crime figures for 2014-2015 can be found at the following link http://www.copfs.gov.uk/publications/equality-and-diversity

2. The term 'Hate Crime' refers to any crime motivated by prejudice on the grounds of:



i) Racial prejudice

ii) Religious prejudice

iii) Prejudice against disability

iv) Prejudice against sexual orientation

v) Prejudice against transgender identity