Goths to be protected under hate crime changes
People who dress as ‘goths’ will be protected by police as part of new legislation involving hate crimes, Derbyshire Constabulary has said.
The strand of hate crime, known as alternative subculture, can now be recorded as an aggravating feature in hate crimes and is now equal to race, religion, disability, homophobia and transgender. The force has been working with the Sophie Lancaster Foundation to tackle issues relating to hate crimes.
The Sophie Lancaster Foundation was set up following the death of Sophie in August 2007. Sophie was attacked, along with her boyfriend, for the way that they dressed. The foundation focuses on creating respect for and understanding of subcultures in the community. Assistant Chief Constable Bill McWilliam said: “Crimes based on hatred must never be tolerated and Derbyshire Constabulary, together with partner agencies and communities, will do all we can to tackle all forms of hate crime. “The tragic death of Sophie Lancaster is a moving reminder to us all how important our combined efforts are. As a force we are ensuring that we fully understand hate crime and we will be recording alternative subculture should this be an aggravating feature in any incident.” The popular Bloodstock Festival is being held in Catton Park, Derbyshire this weekend and they have a dedicated stage entitled the ‘Sophie Lancaster Stage’ to show their support to the foundation.
Sylvia Lancaster OBE said: “After my unique daughter Sophie was brutally murdered because she chose to express her individuality I vowed to create a lasting legacy to her. Derbyshire police has become the 12th Police Authority in England to record and monitor ‘alternative subculture’, hate crime is a huge part of that legacy and our aim at the charity is to work to have the legislation extended. “Through Derby Homes we delivered training across Derby city in June and on our last day we were delighted to hear the police and crime commissioner pledge along with the chief constable that they would make lives safer for the alternative community living in and visiting Derbyshire. The additional support that will be offered to victims of hate crimes and incidents is significant. “The announcement of that important change near to the weekend of Bloodstock Festival is a very proud moment for us and the organisers, artists and especially the festival attendees, the metallers, who support us so loyally finally getting the promise we made to them, to make their community safer.
“I personally urge anyone who experiences abuse, verbal or physical, to call 101 (or 999 in an emergency) and report it as a hate crime.”