Hate related Crime & Hate related Anti-Social Behaviour Policy & Procedure Foreword



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Hate related Crime & Hate related Anti-Social Behaviour Policy & Procedure

Foreword

“All crime is wrong, but that which is motivated by hatred of a particular characteristic of the victim – whether it’s their race, faith, sexual orientation, gender identity, perceived disability or anything else – is particularly corrosive.” 1 Lynne Featherstone MP, Minister for Equality, March 2012

Great strides have been made in the past few years in relation to the development of a better understanding of hate crime and hate related anti-social behaviour – when and where it is happening and what the impact is on those who are victims of it.

The Equality & Human Rights Commission ‘Hidden in Plain Sight: Inquiry into disability-related harassment’2 gave a valuable insight into the extent and impact of harassment and abuse of disabled people. This review illustrated the need to understand not only what incidents of hate are taking place but also the harm which is caused to the victim by “less serious” incidents which left un-tackled can lead to more serious and life threatening crimes and/or long term psychological and emotional harm.

The Governments action plan ‘Challenge it, Report it, Stop it: The Government’s Plan to tackle Hate Crime’3 sets out a clear framework around how the Government intends to tackle hate crime by increasing reporting and access to support, improving the operational response to hate crimes and ultimately to prevent hate crime from occurring in the first place.

Luton Borough Council strongly agrees with the principle set out by the Government and is firmly committed to incorporating the learning from the above pieces of work to adopt the principles contained within. The Council wants to reduce the fear of crime so that people feel safer, living free from harassment and fear. We also aim to improve the quality of life for communities in Luton by taking a fast and effective victim centred approach to hate related crime and anti-social behaviour and by encouraging respect for individuals and families of all cultures and backgrounds.

This document represents the official policy of Luton Borough Council and is applicable to all Council services. Although this is an LBC policy, we acknowledge that the response to hate crime/anti-social behaviour (ASB) requires a consistent and coordinated approach across public services as well as with local communities, voluntary groups and organisations. We will be seeking to incorporate a joined up approach with partner agencies not only in the response that we deliver to individual victims but also to the wider strategic aims including preventing these incidents from occurring in the first place and increasing reporting of hate related crime and ASB when it does.

Councillor Hazel Simmons, Leader of the Council

Trevor Holden, Chief Executive1.1 Introduction

The effects of hate related crime and hate related anti-social behaviour can be severe for individuals, families and the community. Hate related crime and hate related ASB can cause a person to feel humiliated, embarrassed, hurt or angry. In extreme circumstances, it can cause death or injury, and will almost always cause stress, ill health and fear. Repeat incidents may lead to severe distress, making life intolerable. The harm is felt by the victim and their family but there is also a negative impact on communities in relation to cohesion and integration.

There is clear evidence, to show, that being targeted because of who you are has a greater impact on your wellbeing than a victim of a ‘non-targeted’ crime.4 Low level hate crimes, can escalate if they are not dealt with effectively and appropriately at an early stage. Tackling hate related crime and hate related ASB effectively - and being seen to tackle it – helps to foster strong and positive relations between different sections of the community and supports community cohesion.5

Luton Borough Council, as an employer, service provider and community leader, has an important part to play in:



  • Providing services that support victims of hate related crime and hate related ASB;

  • Challenging alleged perpetrators including taking legal action through the powers available to the council;

  • Acknowledging the significance and harm caused to individuals, families and communities;

  • Taking action as an individual organisation and, where appropriate, in partnership with other agencies, to eliminate hate related crime/ hate related ASB in Luton;

  • Driving local partnerships to work together to deliver on preventing and tackling hate related crime/ hate related ASB.

  • Investing resources in awareness campaigns to encourage victims of hate related crime/ hate related ASB to come forward to report incidents.

  • Understanding the profile of hate related crime/ hate related ASB in Luton and ensuring that adequate service provision exists to address the needs of those victims.

  • Foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

1.2 What is a hate related crime/hate related anti-social behaviour?

Hate related crime is defined as any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a personal characteristic.6 Hate related Crime is not recorded as a single category of crime – it occurs as a feature of recorded crimes.7

Anti-Social Behaviour does not have a precise legal definition. The adopted definition in Luton is:

Behaviour which caused, or was likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress.

Accordingly, for the purposes of this policy, hate-related anti-social behaviour must comply with this definition and is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a personal characteristic.

The characteristics recognised for the purposes of this policy are:


  • Race/ethnicity

  • Religion/Belief

  • Sexual Orientation

  • Gender

  • Transgender (gender identity)

  • Disability8

  • Age

It is noted that the victim can be targeted because of an actual or perceived characteristic. E.g. an offender may believe that the victim is disabled when in fact they are not.

Hate related crime/ hate related ASB can take a variety of forms, including:



  • Physical attacks on people

  • Criminal damage to property

  • Harassment9

  • Abusive language and ‘jokes’ including offensive comments being made regarding a person’s appearance

  • Threats, intimidating behaviour and bullying

  • Writing offensive graffiti

  • Sending nasty/offensive letters, emails or text messages

  • Making hateful comments on social networking sites

Hate related crime/ hate related ASB incidents can be directed at an individual, a family or a wider group.

1.3 Our commitment

Luton Borough Council is committed to equality and access for all. As a provider of services and one of the largest employers in the town we recognise our important role in improving the quality of life for everyone in Luton. We are committed to working to promote equality of opportunity, to combating discrimination and promoting good community relations in Luton. We value the diversity of Luton and recognise that this is one of the things that makes the town special.

We are committed to tackling hate related crime and hate related anti-social behaviour. The approach we will adopt will seek to:


  • Prevent hate related crime/ hate related ASB from occurring.

  • Increase reporting by encouraging victims and witnesses to come forward.

  • Prevent escalation of incidents and minimise the impact on the victim.

  • Give victims access to appropriate support and advice and seek to minimise the harm which is caused to them.

  • Robustly manage cases which can be dealt with by the Council and ensure that we cooperate with Bedfordshire Police to facilitate them using the criminal laws available to them.

  • Challenge prejudicial views and take action against alleged perpetrators with the powers available to the council.

  • Forge effective links between Community Safety and Safeguarding services to ensure that every opportunity is taken to identify victims of hate related crime/ hate related ASB and that relevant service is provided to ensure that the victim is safe from continued harm.

  • Promote cohesion and integration within local communities.

2 Aim

The aim of this policy is to:



Provide a mechanism for the reporting, recording, investigating and monitoring of all hate related crimes/ hate related anti-social behaviour reported to Luton Borough Council and to encourage and promote inter-departmental and inter-agency responses to them.

3. Scope

3.1 This document sets out Luton Borough Council’s Policy on the reporting and recording of hate related crime/ hate related ASB based primarily on race/ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion/faith, gender identity and age. It provides guidance to help employees and elected members implement the policy.

3.2 This policy does not extend to employees wishing to register a complaint against another employee. In this circumstance, employees should consider the Unfair Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying Policy.

3.3 Allegations of domestic abuse, honour based violence and female genital mutilation fall outside of this policy and will be dealt with in line with the criminal law and safeguarding procedures.

3.4 Allegations of abuse against children falls outside of this policy and will be dealt with in line with the criminal law and/or Children Safeguarding Policy and Procedure.

3.5 Allegations of abuse of vulnerable adults by care providers also falls outside of this policy and will be dealt with in line with the criminal law and/or the Adult Safeguarding Policy and Procedure.

3.6 Schools have their own procedures in place for recording and taking action in relation to hate related crime and hate related anti-social behaviour.

4. Reporting, Recording, Investigating and Monitoring of Incidents

4.1 These guidelines are intended as a helpful guide for employees and elected members. They cover the action employees and elected members are expected to take if they witness or deal with reported hate related crime/ hate related ASB whilst at work, whether within their own service or relating to another service area.



4.2 Reporting

The first point of contact for a hate related crime/ hate related ASB incident may vary. Reports may be verbal, written or by phone call. It is therefore important that all employees and elected members are aware of how to recognise that a hate crime/ASB incident has occurred and that they must record it whatever the source of the complaint.

For this policy to apply – the incident reported must be:


  • A crime and/or anti-social behaviour – as set out at point 1.2 of this policy.

  • The incident must also be perceived to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on one (or more) of the following: race/ethnicity, religion/faith, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, disability and age.

The Hate related Crime/ hate related ASB Reporting form can be used as a tool to assist with the collection of the relevant facts relating to the reported incident. A copy of this form is attached as Appendix A and is available on the intranet and should be made available in hard copy to staff who do not have access to the intranet.

Victims should be encouraged to report the incident to Bedfordshire Police if they have not already to ensure that the police can take any necessary action to collect evidence and/or apprehend the offender without delay. The Council recognises that some victims do not wish to report the incident(s) to Bedfordshire Police. Any request to not report the incident or be referred to Bedfordshire Police will be respected.10 The Hate related Crime/ hate related ASB reporting form must be completed irrespective of whether the victim has already reported the incident to the police and/or another third party organisation – e.g. Housing Association or Stop Hate UK, MAMA, Victim Support.



4.3 Recording

Employees and elected members are required to complete the Hate related Crime/ hate related ASB Reporting form for any incident which is witnessed by or reported to them.

The form must be submitted immediately to the Community Safety & Anti-Social Behaviour Unit, who will assume responsibility for ensuring that incidents are:


  • Acknowledged within 2 working days of receipt

  • Assessed to establish what action needs to be taken in relation to the specific incident

  • Allocated and forwarded to the relevant investigating officer11

  • Recorded the incident for monitoring purposes (which will include details of the outcome of the investigation and specifically action taken)

4.4 Investigating

Where appropriate, Luton Borough Council will seek to adopt a joint approach to responding to hate related crime/ hate related ASB with Bedfordshire Police. This section specifically relates to cases which have been allocated to Council Officers and the Priority Anti-Social Behaviour Team as the investigating officer. Cases which are referred to Bedfordshire Police will be dealt with in line with their standard operating procedures.

The Priority Anti-Social Behaviour Team is a partnership team between Luton Borough Council and Bedfordshire Police. Consequently, cases which are allocated to this team are managed/investigated by a Council employed Community Safety Officer or a Police Community Support Officer. All employees within this team will comply with the requirements of this policy.

Upon receipt of the reporting form, the allocated investigating officer will assess the information to determine what course of action is required in terms of investigating and taking action in relation to the report. This could include:



  • Completing the ASB Case Prioritisation Matrix Form to make a formal assessment of the seriousness of any ongoing problems and any specific vulnerability of the victim and/or their family.

  • Creating an Investigation Plan to look at evidence collection – including CCTV deployment, professional witnesses etc.

  • Considering actions to prevent the recurrence of further incidents – including requesting additional patrols from the police, target hardening measures etc.

  • Making referrals to other agencies that can assist in supporting the victim – including Safeguarding teams, Victim Support & Stop Hate UK, Safer Luton Partnership, advocacy or support services.

  • Establishing whether there are any other victims and/or witnesses to the incident(s).

Additional principles which will be adopted by investigating officers include:

  • Identifying and addressing any safeguarding issues which present during the investigation of the case. At a later stage, there may be a need to consider whether a serious case review is needed in relation to a specific case. In this circumstance, such a serious case review would be triggered by the relevant safeguarding board.

  • Additional support may be required from Children’s services if any of the victims are children or young people.

  • Keeping accurate records relating to the investigation.

  • Communicating with the victim so that they are kept up to date with progress of the case and particularly the outcomes of the investigation.

  • Ensuring that the case is dealt with appropriate confidentiality and sensitivity.

4.5 Outcomes

Alongside offering support, advice and assistance to victims and seeking to prevent further incidents from occurring, there are a number of tools and powers which can be used as an outcome to hate related crime/ hate related ASB issues. These include:



  • Mediation

  • Restorative Justice

  • Removal of offensive graffiti

  • Assessment/Intervention plans – used to deter identified perpetrators from further offending.

  • Completion of a Common Assessment Framework if the alleged offender is a young person.

  • Work carried out with young people on court orders by Luton Youth Offending Service will specifically address issues around hate crime/ASB if this is a factor in the young person’s offending behaviour.

  • Warning visits and letters

  • Acceptable Behaviour Contracts

  • Anti-Social Behaviour Enforcement Notices

  • Anti-Social Behaviour Orders12

  • Injunctions available to the local authority – including S.222 Local Government Act 1972, S.153A-E Housing Act 1996, Part 4 of the Police and Crime Act 2009.

  • Housing related action – including serving Notices of Seeking Possession, Possession Proceedings or Demotion proceedings.

  • Geographical based orders such as Dispersal Order; Gating Orders could be used where there are wider community issues which could include hate motivated crime and/or anti-social behaviour.

  • Criminal Offences – certain specific offences exist which relate to hate crime such as racially aggravated criminal damage. If a specific offence does not exist, the fact that it was motivated by hate would be an aggravating factor of the offence.

  • Enhanced sentencing provisions – e.g. S146 Criminal Justice Act 2003 imposes a duty on the courts to increase the sentence for any offence where the perpetrator was hostile towards the victim because of the victim’s disability (or assumed disability – whether or not the assumption is correct.)

The tools and powers listed here are available to the wider Community Safety Partnership but are listed here as it reflects the partnership responses and working arrangements which are in place.

The list set out above does not represent an incremental approach to the tools and powers used – the tools and powers which will be used in cases will be those which are suitable and will depend on a number of factors including the seriousness of the incident(s), evidence gathered and whether or not the relevant legislation or criteria are met.



4.6 Monitor

4.6.1 Case monitoring

Ongoing monitoring of individual cases will be the responsibility of the line manager of individual investigating officers. This represents the fact that different departments/agencies who will be allocated cases have different reporting lines.



4.6.2 Performance Monitoring

The Community Safety Partnership will adopt a performance monitoring regime around hate crime/anti-social behaviour. This will focus on two elements, first building a profile of the type and nature of hate related crimes and hate related anti-social behaviour which occur and secondly on the outcomes being used to resolve issues. This will include an evaluation of whether or not the outcomes deployed are effective. Any issues around service delivery across the partnership will be examined and addressed.

Data will be provided to the Social Justice Unit for monitoring and advice purposes.

5. Training

Luton Borough Council will establish a training programme for the introduction of this policy for employees, managers and elected members.

Ongoing training will be provided to investigating officers to ensure that officers have up to date knowledge on the issues around hate related crime and hate related ASB and specifically the powers available to address these cases.

7. Strategy

The Council acknowledges that this document focuses on the responses that will be deployed to individual victims’ reports of hate related crime/ hate related ASB. There is a significant need for a broader strategy to ensure that actions are put in place to realise the wider aims of the hate related crime/ hate related ASB agenda.

In conjunction with the Social Justice Unit, the Community Safety Partnership will seek to adopt a Hate related Crime/ hate related ASB strategy to encapsulate a joint approach to tackling these issues.

8. Review

This policy will be reviewed periodically to ensure that it is updated with Government policy and legislation changes. It will also be reviewed and updated as required to ensure that it is achieving its outcomes effectively.


Reporting Form

Victim Details

Name

 

Address

 

Telephone Number

 

Email

 

Occupancy

Council

Owner Occupier

Private Rent

Housing Association

Other

Preferred Contact Method

Phone

Email

Post



Incident (s) Details

Is this incident

A one off incident?

An ongoing problem?

Date of incident (s)

 

How often does this happen? (if this is an ongoing problem)

 

What has happened?

 

What is the Impact on the victim/witness?

 



Perpetrators Details

 
















Please submit completed form to:

Email: communitysafety@luton.gov.uk or Internal Post: Community Safety, Town Hall.




Were there any other victims/ witnesses?

obtain further details if available

 
















Relevant Hate Characteristic(s)

Characteristic

 

Further details

 

Race/ Ethnicity

 

Religion/Belief

 

Gender

 

Disability

 

Sexual Orientation

 

Transgender

 

Age

 































Has the victim reported this to any other agency? Who?

 

 

 

 






























Other relevant information

 
















Declaration: if victim is not present verbal consent must be obtained

I agree the above details are correct

I give permission for the hate crime incident to be recorded for monitoring purposes in accordance with Data Protection Act




I give my express consent for this information to be shared with the relevant organisations, including Bedfordshire Police.

 

Signature

Victim: Complainant:

Date:

 
















Officer Completing Form:

Date:































Community Safety & Anti-Social Behaviour Team use only

 

 

 
















Date Received




Officer Completing assessment of incident




Allocated to




Date acknowledgment set to the victim/witness




Please submit completed form to:

Email: communitysafety@luton.gov.uk or Internal Post: Community Safety, Town Hall.



1 Challenge it, Report it, Stop it: The Government’s Plan to tackle Hate Crime. March 2012. HM Government


2 Source: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/legal-and-policy/inquiries-and-assessments/inquiry-into-disability-related-harassment/hidden-in-plain-sight-the-inquiry-final-report/


3 Source: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/crime/hate-crime-action-plan/action-plan


4 For instance: Iganski P. Hate Crimes Hurt More, 2001 and Hate Crime and the City, Policy Press, 2008. Garcia L, McDevitt J, Gu J, and Balboni J. Psychological and Behavioural Effects of Bias and Non-Bias Motivated Assault, Final Report, National Criminal Justice Reference Service, December 1999.


5Challenge it, Report it, Stop it – The Government’s Plan to tackle Hate Crime. Home Office, March 2012. P7.

6 Challenge it, Report it, Stop it: The Government’s Plan to tackle Hate Crime. March 2012. HM Government. At point 1.7


7 Hate Crime: Delivering a Quality Service. Home Office and Association of Chief Police Officers. March 2005.


8 Disability takes the definition from the Equality Act 2010: a person has a disability if:

  • they have a physical or mental impairment

  • the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to perform normal day-to-day activities



9 Harassment offences are derived from a number of pieces of legislation including the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997

10 Any duty to report an incident to the police will over-ride this provision.

11 Relevant Investigating Officers may include officers from the Priority Anti-Social Behaviour Team, Housing Department, Environmental Enforcement or Bedfordshire Police.

12 Anti-Social Behaviour Legislation is currently under review by Central Government. The current measures listed here represent tools and powers available in April 2012 and may be subject to change.



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