15/10/2013

Justice Department To Tackle Hate Crime

Justice Minister David Ford has outlined some of the strategies to be undertaken by his Department and the PSNI to tackle hate crime in Northern Ireland.

The Minister was responding to a report by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission into the criminal justice system's response to tackling racist hate crime.

"The system is working hard to deliver for victims," he said.

"The PSNI, Public Prosecution Service and the courts are working very closely together and individually to improve."

"By Autumn 2014, we hope to have in place a 'data capture' system which will accurately record the flow of hate crime cases through the system enabling agencies to identify issues or areas for improvement.

"The PSNI is also carrying out an ongoing review and sample exercise of hate crime cases to ensure good practice and lessons learned on investigative standards. They are also developing a hate crime toolkit for all officers."

A new five-year Victim and Witness Strategy is to be introduced.

The Strategy will introduce several modifications to the way in which hate crimes are dealt with in Northern Ireland, including a requirement for victims to be provided with information at key milestones throughout the criminal justice process and a statutory entitlement to make a written personal statement setting out how crime has affected them.

Delivering the keynote address at the event at Stormont, Minister Ford said: "The criminal justice system has a major role to play in tackling hate crime. Victims of hate crime need the support, professionalism and guidance of a system, where each agency clearly understands their role and delivers on it.

"I know that has not always been the case. But the improvements have been vast and I welcome that this has been recognised in a number of reports, including the Human Rights Commission report published today.

"Hate is sadly evident within society. The criminal justice system is dealing with the manifestation of a problem that extends far beyond our remit. There is therefore also a clear role for other Government Departments and indeed wider society to tackle hate crime."

(IT/JP)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

20 October 2017
'Children Should Not Be The Latest Victims Of Daft Political Games' - Alliance
Children should not be the latest victims of daft political games, Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw has said. She made the statement after the announcement that the defence of "justifiable assault" will be removed from Scottish law, which will protect children from physical abuse.
15 January 2018
Initiative Re-Launched In Bid To Tackle Bogus Callers Across NI
The PSNI and the Utility Regulator have re-launched a new initiative aimed at tackling bogus callers and helping people feel safer in their homes. The 'Quick Check 101' scheme allows residents to dial 101 to check the identity of callers to their home who claim to represent an energy or water network company.
05 January 2018
Assembly Must Be Formed To Tackle Health Crisis
Power-sharing talks must be resumed immediately in an effort to tackle the growing crisis in the Health Service, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has said. The Foyle MLA has called on the UK and Irish government and the leaders of all the main political parties in Northern Ireland to go back to the negotiating table, describing the crisis as "shameful".
31 January 2019
PSNI Must Do More To Tackle East Belfast UVF- Gerry Kelly
A Sinn Fein delegation has met with senior members of the PSNI in relation to the murder of east Belfast man Ian Ogle and "ongoing UVF criminality" in the area. It follows the brutal murder of a community worker on Sunday night, 27 January, at the entrance to Cluan Place in the east of the city.
06 May 2014
Polish Residents Attacked In Latest Hate Crime
Two Polish residents of east Belfast have become the latest victims of a spate of racist hate crimes in the city, after the living room window of their house on Templemore Avenue was smashed at 23:30 on Monday night. A man in his 20s and a woman in her 40s were in the house at the time.