Police Scotland Tackle Hate Crime

17 August 2015, 12:17 | Updated: 17 August 2015, 12:20

Victims of hate crime are being urged to report incidents to police as a new campaign to tackle the problem is launched.

The month-long Police Scotland initiative aims to raise awareness of crimes relating to a person's sexual orientation, gender identity, faith, ethnicity or disability.

It was launched with the help of paralympic sports stars Jo Butterfield, European club throw record holder, Jonathan Paterson, Team GB Paralympic football team captain, and Kieran Steer, European boccia champion.

Superintendent Ross Aitken, from the force's safer communities team, said addressing the problem of hate crime was a priority.

He said: "If anyone feels they have been the victim of a crime which is motivated by malice or ill will because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, faith, ethnicity or disability, they should report it to us.

"We take all such reports very seriously and will conduct thorough investigations to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.''

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: "Everyone has the right to feel safe in their community and there's simply no excuse for hate crime.

"As a society, we've made good progress in raising awareness of this type of crime but there remains much more to be done.

"This campaign is crucial as it gives clear advice on where victims can go for help.''

Gavin MacLeod, chief executive of Scottish Disability Sport, said: "Although disabled people still experience instances of exclusion and discrimination, sport has the power to overcome these challenges and benefit individuals physical, emotional and psychological well-being.

"Scotland has a proud tradition of recognising and celebrating positive role models in disability sport and the hosting of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and the 2014 Commonwealth Games has done much to change perceptions of disability.''

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC said: "One of my key priorities as Lord Advocate has been to tackle hate crime and help Scotland become a more tolerant and diverse country.

"There is no room for complacency and we will continue to work to ensure the downward trend we've seen over the last few years continues.''