PSNI Concerned About Falling Number Of Reported Hate Crimes

A senior police officer has said she hopes the falling numbers of reported homophobic incidents do not indicate a loss of confidence in policing when it comes to hate crime.

PSNI officers pose for photo before giving talk about hate crime
Image: Peter Morrison/PA Wire

PSNI Chief Superintendent Emma Bond acknowledged concerns about under-reporting during a special policing event at Ulster University as part of the Pride festival in Belfast.

She said that most of the crimes reported occurring during night hours and most incidents involved physical attacks against a person.

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Homophobia represents approximately 10% of all recorded hate crime with over 1,000 hate crime-related incidents being reported in Northern Ireland last year, 17 of which were transphobic incidents.

The senior officer added: “We are working really hard as a police service in partnership with other agencies from the statutory and voluntary sector trying to address issues around hate crime.

“We would hope that is having a degree of success. I do believe that we need to be doing more from the preventative point of view. We are dealing with and reacting to incidents being reported to us.”

She addressed concerns around the reduction in the numbers of reported homophobic incidents.

“What I would hope is that it is not an indication of a loss of confidence in the police.”

She pointed out that crime trends tend to fluctuate and in the last 12 months there has been an increase in the number of transphobic hate crimes being reported to the police.

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Unreported Hate Crime Trend

In December 2017, STAD released a report which indicated that the number of transphobic hate crimes being reported in the Republic of Ireland was significantly lower than the numbers being reported in Northern Ireland.

Of the 57 transphobic crimes in the Republic of Ireland, only six were reported to the Garda (10%). In contrast, 75% of all transphobic crimes in Northern Ireland were reported to the PSNI.

It shows that victims of hate crimes in the Republic of Ireland are much less likely to report to the Gardai when compared with Northern Ireland where the PSNI have had much more in-depth training regarding hate crimes.

Of all the incidents that were reported to both the Gardai and the PSNI, only 1 respondent said the police considered it a hate crime (in Nothern Ireland). Of the 8 who reported the crime, 5 found the police to be either dismissive or neutral about the incidents.

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