Force says it will allow them to give more support to victims
Police in Manchester have said that they will start recording offences against punks, emos and goths in the same way they do for attacks based on race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender.
According to Manchester Evening News, Greater Manchester Police are the first force in Britain to take the step to protect members of alternative subcultures from abuse.
“People who wish to express their alternative sub-culture identity freely should not have to tolerate hate crime,” Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said. Although the change will allow police to give more support to victims of anti-punk, goth or emo hate crime, it hasn’t been recognised nationally and won’t necessarily lead to tougher sentences. However, campaigners hope to get hate crime laws extended to include “alternative subcultures or lifestyle and dress” – a move that has been supported by Courtney Love and Gary Numan.
The decision by Manchester police comes after campaigning by the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, a charity set up in memory of a 20-year-old who was murdered in a park in Manchester for dressing as a goth.
Speaking about the horrific attack, Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan added: “Sophie’s tragic death brought forward a need to recognise that there are many other victims of hate crime that should be protected by law. While we have worked with the foundation for some time, I am proud to say we are now the first force in the country to officially record alternative sub-culture as a sixth strand of hate crime motivation. Hate crime ruins many people’s lives and in some cases can tragically cost lives.”
Sophie Lancaster’s mother Sylvia Lancaster, founder of the foundation, said: “It is a very proud day for me personally and the rest of the team…It is a validation of the work we have undertaken in the past five years and hopefully other forces will follow [Greater Manchester Police’s] lead. A big thank you to Greater Manchester Police and all our supporters.”
Last year, it emerged that over 50 ’emo’ young people were reportedly killed in Iraq following the a clampdown by conservative militia in the country.