More than one in ten Police Scotland officers lack hate crime law training

Data from the force indicates 86.6% of officers had had the training as of April 21.

More than one in ten Police Scotland officers lack hate crime law training PA Media

More than one in ten police officers are yet to complete training on the new hate crime law three weeks after it was introduced, statistics indicate.

The Police Scotland figures, released on Tuesday, show 86.6% of police officers had completed the training by Sunday, April 21.

This is up from 80.5% on April 7 in the first week the statistics were released.

When the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act took effect on April 1, police representative organisations raised concerns that not all officers had been trained.

While legislation was already in place against stirring up racial hatred, the new law expanded such protections to other groups, including the elderly, the disabled and LGBT people in Scotland.

It sparked a deluge of reports to police in its first week, with 7,152 complaints being made online, which dropped to 390 in the week to April 21, according to the latest figures – a 79% fall on the previous week.

As of Sunday, there were 9,374 online hate crime reports since the Act was introduced.

Of these, 616 have been recorded by officers as potential hate crimes, with 193 in the week to Sunday.

Just two complaints that same week related to the Hate Crime Act, a total of 54 since the legislation was introduced.

The latest figures show 26 non-crime hate incidents were recorded in the week to Sunday, meaning they did not meet the threshold for a criminal offence.

Justice Secretary Angela Constance said: “These latest statistics represent another sharp decrease in the number of online hate crime reports made to Police Scotland since April 1.

“Police Scotland received 390 online hate crime reports, which is a 79% decrease since the week before and a near 95% decrease since the first week of operation of the new laws.

“As might have been anticipated given the elevated coverage at the time of the Act’s introduction on April 1, the volume of reports received by police has reduced significantly in the second and third weeks. I am therefore pleased to see that the effect of misinformation and misrepresentation of the Act peddled over the last few weeks has subsided.

“Hate crime is behaviour which is both criminal and rooted in prejudice; where the offender’s actions have been driven by hatred towards a particular group. Hatred for people just on the basis of who they are. That is unacceptable.

“Police Scotland has been clear that demand continues to be managed within its contact centres and the impact on frontline policing has been minimal. I am grateful for their outstanding dedication and professionalism as this law came into force, and for all they do to keep communities safe.”

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