COPFS Committed to Tackling Hate Crime

The Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain QC, has renewed the commitment of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to tackle hate crime robustly, following the publication of new figures.

The report on Hate Crime in Scotland 2021-22 shows there has been a marginal decrease of 0.2% in the total number of charges reported to COPFS containing at least one element of hate crime.

Commenting on the annual publication for the first time as Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain QC, said: “Hate crime has damaging consequences for individuals, our communities and society as a whole. No one should find themselves targeted or abused for the simple act of being who they are. 

“Offences which are fired by hatred and prejudice against race, religion, disability, transgender identity or sexual orientation will not be tolerated.

“The Crown takes very seriously our responsibility to protect the public from this offending.

“We would urge any victim or witness to such crime to come forward and report it.  They can be confident that Scottish prosecutors are committed to a robust approach to every report of hate crime they receive.”

“The Crown takes very seriously our responsibility to protect the public from this offending."

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC

The majority of hate crime charges contain a racial element. However, the proportion that contain a racial element has generally decreased over the last ten years, from 75% in 2012-13 to 55% in 2021-22.

The proportion of hate crime charges that relate to sexual orientation has increased from 13% to 32% over the same period.

In 2021-22 for the first time the proportion relating to disability (12%) was higher than the proportion relating to religion (9%).

Cabinet Secretary for Justice Keith Brown said: Hate crime is a corrosive form of offending that has hugely damaging effects on victims, their families and the wider community. These latest figures show that we all must redouble efforts to tackle hatred and prejudice in Scotland – it will not be tolerated.

“That is why the Scottish Government has committed to developing a new hate crime strategy, for publication later this year. Building on the successful delivery of the Tackling Prejudice and Building Connected Communities Action Plan, the new strategy will look at where we need to bolster approaches to effectively confront hate crime offending in Scotland. The strategy will also complement implementation of a modernised hate crime legislative framework, fit for the 21st century.

“To help support strategy development we have brought together a range of third sector organisations and public bodies – in the form of a Strategic Partnership Group – who each possess specific expertise in matters connected to tackling hate crime, eradicating prejudice, fostering community cohesion and advancing equalities and human rights.

“We continue to encourage anyone who experiences or witnesses a hate crime to report it directly to the police or via a third party reporting service.”