Public Urged To Report Hate Crime After Hostage Death

14 September 2014, 17:19

Police have urged people in Scotland to report hate crime in the wake of the murder of aid worker David Haines. The 44-year-old Scot was beheaded by the Islamic State (IS) after being taken hostage in Syria in March last year.

Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said people should "continue working together to ensure nobody feels threatened or marginalised'' and urged any witnesses or victims of hate crime to come forward.

He said: "Our thoughts are very much with David's family at this most difficult time and we are doing all we can to support them.

"This horrific act of violence affects many different communities across the world, including people here in Scotland.

"Police Scotland and the communities we serve are unanimous in our condemnation of this murder and other acts of violence by terrorists around the world.

"We stand collectively in defiance of such atrocities. Scotland is a welcoming and compassionate country with integrated and cohesive communities.''

He said: "I urge all people in Scotland to continue working together to ensure nobody feels threatened or marginalised.

"We must all ensure that the threat posed by terrorists operating in both Syria and Iraq does not undermine the positive relationships which exist across Scotland.

"Should anyone witness or become the victim of hate crime they should contact Police Scotland immediately.

"Police Scotland will not tolerate any form of hate crime and we are committed to doing everything in our power to identify and bring those responsible to justice.''

He also asked members of the public to be vigiliant adding: "At this time there is no specific threat to Scotland.

"However, given that the current overall threat level is severe, I would encourage everyone to remain vigilant.

"Police Scotland is working with law enforcement and security partners around the world to counter the threat from terrorism to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all communities.''

After a meeting of the Scottish Government's resilience committee, First Minister Alex Salmond said: "This was an act of unspeakable barbarism."

"We offer our sincerest condolences to the Haines family and friends who have borne these absolutely terrible circumstances with great fortitude in recent months. Supporting the family and ensuring they get the privacy they have asked for is of primary importance to us at this time."

"Earlier today I convened a meeting of the Scottish Government's Cabinet Sub-Committee for Resilience (CSC-SGOR) to look at our specific responsibilities in these matters and we will continue to work closely with Police Scotland, the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the coming days.

"We will also work with the communities of Scotland, which is of great priority. Scotland's Muslim community are a strong and valued part of Scottish society, and they should in no way be held responsible for the extremism of ISIL. But we must have total vigilance, and be clear that any aggravated racial or religious attack will be met with the full force of the law and will not be tolerated."

Prime Minister David Cameron hailed Mr Haines, a father of two, a ''British hero'' and vowed to ''hunt down those responsible and bring them to justice no matter how long it takes".

Mr Haines' brother, Mike, speaking in a statement issued by the Foreign Office, said his brother had been murdered ''in cold blood''.

He said: ''David was most alive and enthusiastic in his humanitarian roles.

''His joy and anticipation for the work he went to do in Syria is for myself and family the most important element of this whole sad affair.

''He was and is loved by all his family and will be missed terribly.''