A few days ago I was privileged to participate in a meeting to examine some hate crime cases that were being dealt with by Sussex Police. I sit on a committee that meets once a quarter and examines if the community resolution cases being handled by Sussex Police are handled effectively. At the most recent meeting the Crown Prosecution Service asked us to focus on hate crime cases as it is carrying out a study on the subject at the two adjacent forces, Kent and Surrey. This focus on hate crimes is not new when it comes to independent groups that meet to help advise the Police. The Independent Advisory Group which I Chair regularly addresses such matters in our discussions and suggestions we make to the Police Service. However Sussex is not alone in focusing on such matters and this report which refers to a Scottish Police Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion was prepared by Duncan Morrow who wrote in the introduction “Addressing prejudice and hate crime is therefore not only an issue for minorities or those who are targeted but must be a priority concern for the whole of society. Change will require political leadership, including legal support and public policy, as well as changes in behaviour in attitudes in community and society. Our concern in this report is not to pretend to resolve these issues, but to reflect on the learning from our listening process, to analyse the research evidence and to suggest practical pathways to reduce hate, prejudice, violence, isolation and mistrust.”
In recent months as discussions about our plans to leave the EU have become more challenging, it is clear that we need to do more to address such matters.