Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is to become the first force in the country to recognise alternative subculture – such as “goths, emos, punks and metallers” as a recordable motivation for hate crime.
This will be recorded as a crime by GMP in the same way as disability, racist, religious, sexual orientation and transgender hate crime to provide better support to victims.
Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, GMP’s lead officer on hate crime, said: “The launch of this new strand of recordable hate crime is a major breakthrough. We are able to officially recognise that people who wish to express their alternative subculture identity freely should not have to tolerate hate crime – something that many people have to endure on a daily basis.”
He added: “This means that we can recognise the impact that alternative subculture hate crime has on its victims and the wider community, we can offer better support and risk assess the potential for repeat victimisation.”
GMP has been working with the Sophie Lancaster Foundation as part of the new plans.
Sophie Lancaster died in 2007 at the age of 20 after her and her boyfriend were brutally attacked as they walked home through a park in Lancashire.
She suffered horrific head injuries and never regained consciousness. Her killers were sentenced in 2008 and the judge recognised her death as a hate crime because they were targeted for being goths.
Sylvia Lancaster, founder of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation and Sophie’s mum, said: “It is a very proud day for me personally and the rest of the team. It is a validation of the work we have undertaken in the past five years and hopefully other forces will follow GMP’s lead.”