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Mock trial to raise awareness of race hate crime

COPFS prosecutors staged a mock trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court to highlight racially aggravated hate crime. 

Equality representatives from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) helped organise the event to raise awareness of the legislation on race-related hate crimes and how these offences are prosecuted. 

Sheriff Lindsay Wood presided, with Procurator Fiscal Deputes playing a variety of roles to demonstrate the trial process.   

Members of the COPFS Sheriffdom Equality Network group for Glasgow joined with partners from Glasgow City Council and Criminal Justice Social Work to bring the event together. 

Crown Agent, David Harvie, head of Scotland’s prosecution service, welcomed 50 guests from local agencies including Glasgow Disability Alliance, Police Scotland, Victim Support Scotland, Glasgow Housing Association, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Scottish Fire and Rescue. 

The Crown Agent said: “COPFS takes its commitment to tackling all hate crime, including race hate crime, extremely seriously.  There is very clear guidance and training on the law and policy in this area for all our staff, to better inform and equip them when dealing with victims. 

“COPFS has created Equality Networks across our departments to represent those from protected characteristics, including - but not restricted to - gender, race and disability networks. 

“We are keen to engage with those impacted by hate crime and partner agencies, which is clearly demonstrated by this event.” 

The latest COPFS annual report on hate crime – published in June – showed the total number of reports containing at least one element of hate crime was 5,640 in 2021-22 marginally less than the 5,645 charges reported in 2020-21. 

Racial hate crime remains the most commonly-reported of these offences.  In total 3,107 charges of this nature were reported in 2021-22. 

COPFS is committed to tackling race and ethnicity-related crime and takes a robust approach to every report of hate crime received.  

Danni Glover, Glasgow City Council’s Hate Crime Policy Officer, said the event highlighted the gravity assigned to reports of such offending. 

She added: “This was a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of the legislative process behind tackling hate crime. 

“It is so important that we encourage reporting of all hate crime and raise awareness of ways to do so – including Third Party Reporting. I look forward to working with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service on similar events in the future.”