New national hate crime guidance published

Published on 20 October 2020
Police forces must prioritise incidents and ensure steps are taken to manage risks to vulnerable people and communities
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The College of Policing's Authorised Professional Practice guidance on hate crime has been developed after extensive consultation with officers, staff and the public. It provides detailed information to help police forces across England and Wales effectively and consistently investigate offences and keep the public safe.

The updated guidance addresses recommendations in a report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), which looked at the initial police response to reports of hate crime. It also takes into account the findings from a High Court ruling in February 2020 when a claim that the College’s previous hate crime operational guidance for police was unlawful was rejected.

The new guidance has clear advice for officers and staff on the steps they should take when responding to non-crime hate incidents, including proportionate responses to take depending on the nature of the report and strategies to manage contact with all parties involved.

Further clarification is provided about why the police should record a non-crime hate incident, and what information about a non-crime hate incident should be recorded.

It details the latest products developed by the College to help officers and staff understand how to address the particular vulnerabilities of different people to reduce their risk of harm.

Officers and staff will also be able to access specific advice from the College on working with victims of crime who have been targeted because of their sexual orientation, disability or because they identify as transgender.

Hate crime can take many forms and has a devastating impact on the lives of people across all communities and in all walks of life, often increasing an individual’s sense of vulnerability.

It is appalling that in 2020 people are still being subjected to threats, abuse, and in some cases physical violence, because of their gender identity, race, religion or for other perceived differences.

Our guidance was developed after concerns were raised in The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report that the police were not properly recording incidents of race hate crime. A new approach for recording incidents was then expanded to include other areas.

When a hate crime is reported police should carry out a proportionate, sensitive and thorough investigation, taking into account the rights and freedoms of all parties, without unnecessarily restricting any individual’s right to free speech.

It is only by recording concerns that police can assess their seriousness and build up an accurate picture of the level and nature of offending across England and Wales.

David Tucker, crime lead for the College of Policing

The guidance also includes updated information on the care and support that victims and witnesses should receive to manage any risks to them when reporting an incident and the latest advice on investigating reports of people subjected to hate online.