Garda Inspectorate Report highlights urgent need for hate crime legislation and reform of PULSE

Wed, November 12, 2014

garda symbolThe publication of the Garda Inspectorate Report yesterday highlights the urgent need for hate crime legislation and flanking measures to tackle racism and other hate crimes through the reform of the PULSE system, says Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre.

“The Garda Inspectorate Report bears out what we already know to be the case – that victims of racist incidents do not report to the Gardaí and that when they do, their reports are often not recorded or investigated,” comments Nasc CEO Fiona Finn.

“The low level of reporting and investigation of racist crimes outlined in the report shows how urgently hate crime legislation is needed, to clarify when a racist incident is a crime and when it should be recorded and investigated,” Ms. Finn continues.

The Report notes that other jurisdictions have specific offences for aggravated crimes, and that most of Europe and the USA refer to crimes that are bias motivated as ‘hate crimes’, while An Garda Síochána does not use the term.

Low reporting of racist and other hate crimes can be directly linked to the lack of legislation, as many racist incidents are not currently considered crimes and are not recorded in the PULSE system.

In Nasc’s experience, many victims of hate crimes do not see any point in reporting, as they believe nothing will come of it. It can also be linked to lack of trust in An Garda Síochána by victims of hate crimes.

Ms. Finn comments: “We welcome the recent commitments made by Minister of State Aodhán Ó Riordáin to introducing hate crime legislation in May 2015 and we are happy to be working with him, the University of Limerick Hate and Hostility Research Group and other NGOs in pushing this legislation forward.”

Recommendations in the Report include that An Garda Síochána implement a ‘victim-centred policy and good investigate practices in racial, homophobic and other similar crimes to encourage victims to report offences’, by ensuring all crimes ‘containing elements of hate or discrimination are flagged in PULSE’.

“The recommendations in the report highlight a number of key flanking measures which are also essential to ensure that victims of racist and other hate crimes feel able to report, and to ensure that their report is recorded by Gardaí,” notes Ms. Finn.

“Right now, we have no idea how many racist incidents are really happening because so many remain unrecorded. The changes recommended in this report are absolutely vital,” Ms. Finn comments.

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