Tackling prejudice and building connected communities action plan: implementation overview

A report providing an overview of implementation of the actions set out in the Tackling Prejudice and Building Connected Communities Action Plan.

1. Introduction

This report provides an overview of the implementation of the actions set out in the Tackling Prejudice and Building Connected Communities Action Plan,[1] which was published by the Scottish Government in 2017 in response to recommendations made by the Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion ('the 2016 Advisory Group').[2] Chaired by the then Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, the Tackling Prejudice and Building Connected Communities Action Group ("the Action Group")[3] was established to take forward the programme of work and promote a strategic approach to tackling hate crime, eradicating prejudice and building community cohesion. The Scottish Government committed to publishing an update on progress in 2020; however, this was delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Scottish Government responding to the impacts of the virus.

This report groups the actions into six themes of

  • Strategic co-ordination and leadership;
  • Justice;
  • Terminology;
  • Data collection and evidence;
  • Reporting and increasing public awareness; and
  • Education.

The report provides the background to each action, informed by the recommendations made by the 2016 Advisory Group. It then shows the corresponding action committed to by the Scottish Government. It then goes on to outline what has been done to implement that action. A summary of all of the actions and their current status can be viewed at the 'Implementation at a glance' section.

Although the pandemic has impacted upon this programme of work, significant progress has been made in a number of key areas. Following Lord Bracadale's independent review of hate crime legislation published in 2018,[4] Parliament has since voted to pass the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021[5] ('the Hate Crime Act'), which received Royal Assent in April 2021. Once in force the Act will modernise, consolidate and extend existing hate crime legislation.

We have also undertaken work to improve our hate crime data and evidence gathering and, in doing so, produced our research report, 'A Study into the Characteristics of Police Recorded Hate Crime in Scotland',[6] which presents for the first time a high-quality measure of police recorded data on hate crime. Once commenced, the Hate Crime Act will provide for the publication of more detailed information on police recorded hate crime and convictions data on an annual basis.

In a further effort to address hate crime and its detrimental impact, we have launched a number of successful campaigns in partnership with Police Scotland. The campaigns featured individuals who had experienced hate crime and conveyed strong messaging about how such pernicious behaviour can negatively impact someone's life, and contribute towards the fracturing of community cohesion.

It is also important to recognise the role Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) have played in advancing corporate equality and diversity. In doing so, they have worked with stakeholders and communities to raise awareness, develop teaching resources and train ambassadors for community cohesion and safety.

The continued support of the Action Group and wider stakeholders has been central to progressing this programme of work. We recognise, however, that more needs to be done to tackle hate crime in Scotland and we will build on the progress made as we begin development of a new hate crime strategy later this year.


Email: ConnectedCommunities@gov.scot

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