Sussex Police could become the next force in the country to recognise alternative subculture as a recordable motivation for hate crime.
Previously GMP only registered offences against race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity as potential hate crimes.
Offences motivated by hatred for the victim’s race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity currently can receive higher custodial sentences.
Sussex’s Hate Crime Forum has now decided to incorporate subculture in its hate crime classification.
Sussex Police said in a statement: “There are many other groups in our society who have been targeted for hostility and crime.
“It is vital that the concentration on the monitored areas is not used to deny the existence of other hate crimes.
“We are therefore currently developing plans for a sixth strand of ‘alternative lifestyle’ hate crime for Sussex, for any other incident where the perpetrator’s hostility or prejudice against a person’s identifiable alternative lifestyle is believed to be a factor in determining who is victimised.”
Following the death in 2007 of 20-year-old Sophie Lancaster, who was attacked for being a goth, the Sophie Lancaster Foundation was set up to campaign against such crime.
The foundation has been working with Greater Manchester Police and Stop Hate UK as part of the new hate crime policy.
Meanwhile, the Argus reports Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne has promised to increase the reporting of hate crime in the county.