Zero-tolerance to hate crime vowed

Tackling hate crimes against disabled people is a priority for the police and prosecution service, the Lord Advocate has said.

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Frank Mulholland
Frank Mulholland

Frank Mulholland said such crimes will be treated with a "zero-tolerance" approach, and has encouraged any victims to come forward and report incidents.

Mr Mulholland used his speech at a conference on prejudice to highlight the work being done by police and prosecutors to prioritise action against hate crimes.

"We have made great progress in recent years towards tackling racism, sectarianism and homophobia in Scotland but a great deal more needs to be done to highlight the hate crimes in other sections of society, particularly disability," he said.

"Some disabled people can be vulnerable which makes hate crimes committed against them abhorrent. I would like to reassure anyone who is targeted because of their disability or even a perceived disability that prosecutors will take a zero-tolerance approach to such behaviour and would encourage them to contact law enforcement.

"The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) will also do its utmost to provide the necessary support to help victims and witnesses in the disabled community to give evidence with minimum inconvenience and distress."

Assistant Chief Constable Ruaraidh Nicolson also addressed the conference, a joint COPFS/Police Scotland event held at Hampden.

He said: "I can think of few more important areas of Police Scotland's work than keeping those who are, perhaps, more vulnerable due to some form of disability safe from those who commit prejudicial acts against them.

"Can I give you all my assurance that Police Scotland is committed to engaging with all our communities in order that we tailor our service to meet the needs and expectations of those we serve."

Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham said: "This event, and the strong message from the Lord Advocate, will further shine a light on this shameful offence and make it clear that hate crime is unacceptable with serious consequences."

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