The Community Relations Council welcomes the call by the Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice for a wider government approach to hate crime including enhanced sentencing.
Chair Peter Osborne said "The report is welcome in putting a greater focus on hate crime and in highlighting the need for leaders at every level to recognise the damage caused by hate crime and contribute more to opposing hate crime. I also welcome the proposal for enhanced sentencing with the introduction of statutory offences similar to England and Wales.
But we also must get real. There must be far more support to communities looking to make attitudinal change; and part of the reason why resolution rates for sectarian and hate crime is lower than crime generally, is because of the real or perceived control within communities by paramilitaries. While that perception continues, fewer people will speak out or come forward with information, and resolution rates will continue to be lower.
As the Chief Inspector says, this needs a holistic government response which means a more robust race equality strategy, more resourcing for intercultural awareness work; and with enhanced sentencing a wider policy is needed to remove barriers to people co-operating with the police so that more arrests and convictions are realised.”