The Northern Ireland Policing Board has set 14 recommendations for the PSNI to improve how they deal with race hate crime. The Human Rights Thematic Review of Policing Race Hate Crime examines how well the PSNI are complying with the Human Rights Act 1998 when dealing with and for those from minority racial groups. The Review focuses on how the PSNI identify, record and investigate race hate crime; examines how victims are encouraged to report incidents; and how they are supported.
Policing Board Chair Anne Connolly said: “The 2011 census shows we have become an increasingly diverse society with more than 200,000 people born outside Northern Ireland and over 32,000 people belonging to minority ethnic groups. Such diversity has enriched our society, economically and culturally. However, since 2011, more than 6,000 incidents with a racist motivation have been reported to the police and in 2016/17 the police dealt with 660 race hate crimes, an average of two every day.
Hate crimes can cause enormous damage to individuals and their families, can attack the confidence of minority racial groups and have serious and negative reverberations on the whole community. Whilst it is recognised that tackling racism is a wider societal issue, police officers clearly have a key role to play in tackling, preventing and supporting victims of hate incidents and hate crimes.
Hate crimes are commonly committed by those we perceive as ‘ordinary people’ and the Review makes recommendations for the analysis of statistics and data to identify emerging trends in who perpetrates hate crimes so that the PSNI can target their strategy of communication and prevention most effectively.
The Review also recommends a series of assessments and amendments to officer training programmes so that officers are well equipped to address cultural sensitivities and racism. There is never an excuse for any form of racist crime and I welcome the commitment shown by the PSNI to playing their part in tackling it. The Board will continue to work with the PSNI to make sure that victims of hate crime are protected and receive the quality of service to which they are entitled. No victim should ever be deterred from reporting because they think it is not worth it.”
Discussing the Thematic Report, the PSNI lead for Hate Crime, Superintendent Emma Bond said:
“We welcome the report from the Policing Board’s Performance Committee and have already taken a number of steps to address the recommendations, particularly those around engagement and training.
We continue to review best practice and policy when it comes to tackling hate crime in all its forms and remain fully committed to ensuring that our officers have the appropriate training and skills to properly investigate reports and support all victims.
The prevention and detection of hate crime requires a collaborative approach from a wide range of partners and agencies however the policing response plays an integral part and we will continue to evaluate how we can best deliver a service that meets the needs of every victim.
Hate crime should not be tolerated and victims should feel confident that when they contact police we will take their concerns seriously and respond appropriately.”