IMPLEMENTING POLICE-LED RESPONSES TO HATE CRIME: A CASE STUDY OF ONE ENGLISH NORTHERN TOWN
Since the seminal 1999 Macpherson report, hate crime has become a barometer for contemporary police relations with vulnerable and marginalised communities. The need to understand hate has resulted in a demand for impartial law enforcement and skilled police officers who appreciate the nuances of hatred and its impact on vulnerable populations. However, whilst the police are increasingly expected to be active agents in the response to hate crime, they continue to be criticised for over-policing and under-protecting certain communities.
This paper examines the insights of key stakeholders involved in policing anti-Muslim hate crime in a northern town in England, gathered through in-depth semi-structured interviews with the region’s police force and a third-sector agency. The paper unpacks what the policing of anti-Muslim hate crime entails, drawing upon the role of different agencies and providing lessons for the services involved in the current police-led model. Our results point to variability in understanding what constitutes anti-Muslim hate crime; challenges in understanding and responding to victims’ needs with limited resources; and the need for a system which extends beyond a criminal justice response.