Government should launch hate crime register, expert says
19 June 2017
The recent terrorist incident at Finsbury Park Mosque should lead government to launch a new hate crime register, according to a leading expert at Durham University.
Professor Thom Brooks, Dean of Durham Law School, says: ‘The rise in extremist violence must be met with a new approach. The government can start by taking a tougher line on hate crime by launching a new register similar what is used for sex offenders to ban offenders from working with children or other vulnerable people’.
The Crown Prosecution Service states that hate crimes are criminal offences motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s real or perceived disability, ethnicity, gender identity, nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation. Any one can report what she or he perceives to be a hate crime to the police, but there is a higher bar to pass for successful prosecution of an offence as a hate crime conviction.
Professor Brooks argues that anyone convicted of a hate crime should be placed on a hate crime register for ‘at least a considerable time, providing opportunities for reform and rehabilitation’. He says: ‘Hate crimes are different from other kinds of harms. They target what someone is and not who they are making these crimes even more dangerous’.
Brooks does not believe a hate crime register will end such attacks, but says it should be part of a wider strategy. ‘We must begin by acknowledging a difference between being convicted for a crime and for a hate crime. A register will help send a signal of the seriousness government has in preventing hate crimes and the greater consequences in limiting employment opportunities. Doing nothing is not an option’.