The Sussex Police force look set to become the latest force in the country to recognise that alternative subcultures are a recordable motivation as far as hate crimes are concerned. Only last week GMP, the Greater Manchester Police announced that they would be starting to both recognise and record targeted attacks on subculture members such as emos, punks and goths.
Previous to this, the GMP has only registered offences that were motivated by religion, race, disability, transgender and sexual orientation. The decision was welcomed by Stop Hate UK, but they also stressed that laws within England and Wales would have to be changed for offences against subculture to be taken seriously and be treated more strictly by judges.
Offences that have been motivated by sexual orientation, religion, race, transgender identity and disability currently carry much higher custodial sentencing. The Sussex Hate Crime Forum have now taken the decision to incorporate subculture’s into their ‘hate crime’ category.
In a statement, Sussex Police said there were many groups in society that were being targeted by crime and hostility and it was vital that they concentrated on all areas of hate crimes and not just the main ones that have been a cause for concern.
They added that plans were currently being developed for a 6th strand of hate crimes in Sussex that dealt with alternative lifestyles and that incidents where a perpetrator’s prejudice or hostility against the alternative lifestyle the victim was identifiable for will now be a major factor in identifying exactly who is being victimised and in what way.
Following the untimely death of 20 year old Sophie Lancaster in 2007 who was attacked just for being a goth, a foundation was set up in name to campaign against such hate crimes. The foundation have been working alongside Stop Hate UK and the GMP as part of this new policy against hate crimes.