Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper will this week declare war against rising levels of hate crime, it has been announced today.
She will set out an ‘action plan’ to ‘challenge rising levels of antisemitism, Islamophobia, racist attacks, disability hate crime and attacks on the LGBT community’.
Labour say they would strengthen the law so that homophobia and disability hate is treated with the same level of seriousness as racist hate crimes, which can be classified as ‘aggravated offences’.
The party would also ensure that the criminal records of perpetrators are ‘clearly marked’ with hate crime offences.
New guidance from the Sentencing Council would be used to ensure the appropriate sentencing for hate crimes, particularly in relation to repeat offenders.
Yvette Cooper says a future Labour Government would clamp down against hate crimes on social media, which she claims is being used to “bully and abuse people”.
And more needs to be done to prevent homophobic bullying and the targeting of disabled children in schools, say Labour.
Despite a report from the Law Commission, which recommended changes to the criminal records system and to offences, the Tory-led coalition Government have failed to set out a strategy to respond to rising levels of hate crime.
Yvette Cooper said: “Hate crimes have no place in modern Britain. No one should fear being attacked because of their religion, their sexuality, the colour of their skin or their disability.
“Much more needs to be done to ensure those who commit these very serious crimes are brought to justice and this includes looking at where the law needs to be strengthened.
“But we also need to be looking at what more we can do to prevent discrimination, bigotry and hate taking hold in the first place. This includes work in schools to teach equality and the importance of understanding and respecting each other’s differences.
“And much more needs to be done to tackle hate crime online. Too often industry has been slow to respond to reports of their social media platforms being used to bully and abuse people or spread abhorrent ideology.
“The Government is not doing enough to tackle the rise in hate crime on its watch. Labour is determined that more should be done to stop the spread of hatred, hostility and division in our communities.”