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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 9 August 2022

UK police to treat attacks on goths and punks as hate crimes

Greater Manchester Police said that people should be able to express their alternative sub-culture identity freely without having to tolerate hate crime.

Punks pictured at Blackpool sea front (File photo)
Punks pictured at Blackpool sea front (File photo)
Image: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

POLICE IN MANCHESTER are to officially treat attacks on anyone belonging to an alternative sub-culture, such as goths, metallers or punks, as a hate crime.

It will be the first time that a police force in the UK has expanded its definition of hate crimes to include these groups.

Assistant Chief Constable in the Greater Manchester Police Garry Shewan said the move was a ‘major breakthrough’.

“We should be able to officially recognise that people who wish to express their alternative sub-culture identity freely should not have to tolerate hate crime – something that many people have to endure on a daily basis,” he said.

A hate crime is one in which a crime is committed against someone solely because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or membership of some other social group.

Police are working with the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which was set up and named after a 20-year-old woman who died after being brutally attacked in a Manchester park in 2007. The judge who sentenced her killers found that Sophie Lancaster had been targeted because she was a goth, and described her death as a hate crime.

Since then, the group has worked with police and local authorities to see that the law protects people who are part of sub-cultures.

Police said alternative sub-cultures would include goths, emos, punks and metallers, but said the list was not exhaustive.

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“Sophie’s tragic death brought forward a need to recognise that there are many other victims of hate crime that should be protected by law,” said Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan.

Ireland was criticised by an EU rights organisation in November for failing to keep records and not publishing data on hate crimes.

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