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Labour pledges to tackle anti-LGBT hate crimes

Joseph McCormick February 9, 2015

The Labour Party has pledged to crack down on hate crimes, including those against members of the LGBT community.

A new cross-Government strategy was announced by Labour this week, which sets out an action plan to tackle hate crime including anti-LGBT, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and racist attacks and those based on disability.

The action plan includes strengthening the law to make homophobic hate crimes an aggravated criminal offence, as well crimes against disabled people.

The announced policy was announced by Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, who said the proposed changes would be based on a consultation, and a review of relevant offences, as recommended by the Law Commission.

Changing the punishments of such crimes would bring them in line with racist crimes.

The changes would also mean hate crimes are more clearly marked on criminal records, and under the policy Labour would produce new guidance from the Sentencing Council to ensure proper sentencing for aggravated crimes, particularly repeat offenders.

Social media based crimes, and they way they are handled, would be reviewed under the plans, which would see a cross-departmental strategy for the prevention of hate crime.

Launching Labour’s plan to tackle hate crime, Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper MP said:“Hate crimes have no place in modern Britain. No one should fear being attacked because of their religion, their sexuality, the colour of their skin or their disability. Much more needs to be done to ensure those who commit these very serious crimes are brought to justice and this includes looking at where the law needs to be strengthened.

“But we also need to be looking at what more we can do to prevent discrimination, bigotry and hate taking hold in the first place. This includes work in schools to teach equality and the importance of understanding and respecting each other’s differences.

“And much more needs to be done to tackle hate crime online. Too often industry has been slow to respond to reports of their social media platforms being used to bully and abuse people or spread abhorrent ideology.

“The Government is not doing enough to tackle the rise in hate crime on its watch. Labour is determined that more should be done to stop the spread of hatred, hostility and division in our communities.”

Ms Cooper also said the Government had failed to do enough to respond to rises in hate crimes, and had failed to implement a prevention strategy.

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