Publication - Minutes

Tackling Prejudice and Building Connected Communities Action Group minutes: June 2018

Published: 4 Aug 2021
Part of:
Law and order
Date of meeting: 27 Jun 2018
Location: The Dome Bar and Grill, Edinburgh

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 27 June 2018.

Published:
4 Aug 2021
Tackling Prejudice and Building Connected Communities Action Group minutes: June 2018

Attendees and apologies

In attendance:

  • Chair: Robert Marshall, Connected Communities, Deputy Director, Scottish Government
  • [redacted], [redacted], Police Scotland
  • [redacted], [redacted], Police Scotland
  • [redacted], [redacted], YouthLink Scotland
  • [redacted], [redacted], Equality and Human Rights Commission
  • [redacted], [redacted], COSLA
  • [redacted], [redacted], BEMIS
  • [redacted], [redacted], CEMVO
  • [redacted], [redacted], Glasgow Disability Alliance
  • [redacted], [redacted], Equality Network
  • [redacted], [redacted], Respectme
  • [redacted], [redacted], COPFS

Official support:

  • [redacted], Connected Communities, Scottish Government,
  • [redacted], Cohesive Communities, Scottish Government
  • [redacted], Cohesive Communities, Scottish Government

Apologies: 

  • [redacted], [redacted], Police Scotland
  • [redacted], [redacted], Education Scotland
  • [redacted], [redacted], Interfaith Scotland
  • [redacted], Health and Wellbeing (education), Scottish Government

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Robert welcomed the group. He began by updating the group on the recent Cabinet reshuffle, explaining that the Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Communities, Aileen Campbell, was most likely to take on the role of Chair for this group going forward. He added that the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf, would lead on hate crime legislation. 

Robert explained that the purpose of this meeting was to gather initial views following the publication of Lord Bracadale’s review into hate crime legislation in Scotland on 31 May. He went on to say that Scottish Ministers have accepted Lord Bracadale’s recommendation to consolidate all Scottish hate crime legislation into one new hate crime statute and will use his report and recommendations as the basis for consulting on the detail of what should be included in a new hate crime bill. 

Discussion 

Robert asked the group to provide initial comments on Lord Bracadale’s review and recommendations. The group welcomed a role for this group as a collective, as well as their individual organisational roles to engage with their communities of interest.  The group also agreed that they welcomed the recommendation in principle to consolidate hate crime legislation. The following points were also covered:

COSLA

  • broadly content with the proposals within the review
  • COSLA’s board had had good discussions during the consultation with Lord Bracadale and they believe their views have been included
  • prevention is critical to tackling hate crime

Respectme

  • identified under-reporting as a key issue including inconsistencies around reporting and the need for education and training
  • welcomed the Scottish Government’s guidance for schools to tackle bullying 
  • concern over when bullying become a hate crime and that where something is labelled bullying in school, it might be considered a hate crime outside
  • concern over prejudice based bullying being criminalised through lack of clarity around language of hate crime
  • work needed to build confidence with professionals to help challenge behaviour 

Police Scotland

  • content that their views have been reflected in the report
  • recognise that under-reporting continues to be a challenge and acknowledge previous point made by Respectme regarding the need for clarity around when bullying becomes a hate crime
  • welcomes focus on restorative justice 
  • hate crime v hate incident – important that the public focus on the hate element; it is the responsibility of police to investigate and determine whether it is an incident or crime
  • concern over hierarchy of hate and need to ensure we tackle perceived hierarchy 

Glasgow Disability Alliance 

  • welcomed the language used within review as it is clear and easy to understand
  • agreed with COSLA that prevention is critical to tackling hate crime 
  • agreed with previous comments that under-reporting needs addressed

Equality Network 

  • supports recommendations 13-15 (stirring up offences) and welcomes 4, 5 and 1 (existing statutory aggravations)
  • welcomes recommendations 3 and 11 around exploitation and vulnerability and recommendations around intersex as separate category and transgender terminology
  • highlighted importance of statistics and how more work needs to be done to gather and publish more accurate statistics on hate crime – including outcomes 
  • highlighted importance of wording in regards to implementation of recommendation 16 (freedom of speech)
  • concern over recommendation 18 (repeal of Section 50A - racially aggravated harassment) specifically in regards to language ‘alarm or distress’ v ‘fear or alarm’. Concerned that repeal may lead to a gap in the law

COPFS

  • review highlights challenges faced by COPFS in regards to prosecuting under the current law 
  • particular challenge in regards to vulnerability as it is difficult to specifically prove malice or ill will, but often clear it is due to vulnerability  

BEMIS

  • agreed with Equality Network comments in regards to repeal of Section 50A - racially aggravated harassment
  • concern that race will be diluted if this is repealed and purpose of Section 50A will be lost 

CEMVO

  • agreed with comments in regards to repeal of Section 50A - racially aggravated harassment
  • on-line hate crime still an issue, there is a grey area between freedom of speech and hate crime. More clarity around this is needed

YouthLink Scotland 

  • the recommendations reflect what young people said during consultation including around gender and age and restorative justice
  • agreed that under-reporting is still a challenge and the need for clarity around bullying v hate crime
  • also agreed with CEMVO in regards to online hate crime and the grey area between freedom of speech and hate crime
  • concern Islamophobia is not monitored in schools – reported under general ‘prejudice’ banner

Equality and Human Rights Commission 

  • language clear and terminology easy to understand
  • need to focus on guidance and implementation
  • agreed that education is key and that more needs to be done in regards to disaggregating data 
  • supports recommendations around vulnerability 

Robert thanked the group for their contributions and summarised the discussion:

  • a clear focus on the broader context including the four Christie principles (prevention, people, partnership, performance) and how we can collectively contribute towards ensuring Scotland remains/becomes the Scotland we want to live in
  • concern over recommendation 18 (repeal of Section 50A - racially aggravated harassment) 
  • a need to consider the detail and how changes will translate into operational practice
  • support around recommendation to consider aggravator in regards to vulnerability  outside the hate crime scheme
  • a need for terminology in the context of bullying, hate crime and freedom of speech to be more fully considered 
  • importance of preventative measures and education 

Next steps 

[redacted] updated the group on next steps and further engagement.  The Connected Communities team will undertake further initial engagement during the summer on the review and recommendations prior to launching a public consultation. As well as identifying those recommendations that are supported, this initial engagement will help identify areas of concern and/or complexity to ensure these can be explored further though the public consultation.

Members of the group expressed concern at consultation fatigue, however [redacted] provided reassurance that we won’t be repeating the open consultation carried out my Lord Bracadale, but will be seeking views on what he has recommended. It was suggested that the Connected Communities team provide a narrative for the group setting out next steps and the purpose of any further engagement. 

Action:

  • Connected Communities to share engagement narrative with Action Group 

[redacted] went on to say that a public consultation is planned for autumn 2018 to develop the detail of what will be included in the final hate crime bill.  This will provide an opportunity for community groups and organisations, as well as members of the public, to share their views and inform what is included in the new hate crime legislation. The group agreed that the consultation exercise should include consultation events across the country, where individuals and communities will be invited to come along to give their views and proposed that they could hold events to support this. 

Robert closed by thanking everyone for their contributions and reminded the group that the next meeting is due to take place on 26 September.

Connected Communities 
July 2018