Hate Crime In Scotland: Sectarianism still an issue

By Sanjeev Mann

A new campaign called Hate Has No Home was launched this week to even further combat hate crime in Scotland. The campaign came from a partnership between the Scottish Government, Police Scotland and The Crown Office and was used that improve understanding and reporting of hate related crime. The campaign will focus around digital adverts around bus stations and other public areas to make it easier to stop crimes happening in public.

Hate Crime incidents has faced a sharp increase in England and Wales this week. According to police reports there was an increase in 29% with over 80,000 incidents being reported south of the border.

On the other hand Hate Crime rates are going down in Scotland, but the same old issue of football related crime is still a major issue in. This comes from a January publication from The Scottish Government which shows that hate crime has in fact decreased.

But when it comes to  hate crime in Scotland, offensive behaviour in football has increased majorly. 377 charges were reported in 2016/17 under the offensive behaviour and threatening  communications (Scotland) act 2012. This is the highest number of charges that have been recorded introduction of the act 5 years ago but not suprisingly over a third of the incidents came from the Hibernian v Rangers Scottish Cup final in 2016 where Hibs fans invaded the pitch. This is an increase of 91 from 2015’s stats where 286 incidents were reported. The Increase from 2011 has been huge with only 65 cases being reported. Incredibly this is a 580% increase from this years stats.

This comes on the back of an effort to repeal the offensive football behaviour act. Labour MSP James Kelly brought forward a members bill in June to repeal the act that was brought in in 2012. Since SNP lost their majority in the election, every other party in parliament want it to be scrapped. Back in November parliament motioned its repeal with 64 votes to 63. Many believe the act is unnecessary and unfairly attacks football fans. Various groups including Fans Against Criminalisation have launched protest on the issue.

 

The stats however prove that Sectarianism hasn’t exactly left Scottish football, but has in fact gotten worse since SNP’s bill. Other hate crime incidents such as racism, sexual, religious and disability discrimination have all decreased. These stats carry on the pattern and are at their lowest since 2002.

Chief superintendent John McKenzie of Police Scotland said:

“People of all races, religions, ethnicities of any sexual orientation or with any disability should be able to live their lives free from hate. Their is no place for hate in Scotland and our communities will help us tackle crime.”

This is almost the opposite from our English counterparts who are facing their biggest rise in the form of Disability and transgender incidents but a massive 78% were racially motivated. This is a large increase from last year but surprisingly stats aren’t as severe here. Reports in England also suggested spikes of hate crime after the terrorist attacks that hit London over the past year, but this wasn’t the case in Scotland. An un named source from Hate Crime Scotland believes that terror attacks have made no direct impact to hate crime here. But what is the problem here in Scotland? Football related to hate crime yet again.

 

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