Sussex Police tipped to become the next force to record attacks on subculture groups

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Sussex Police could become the next force in the country to recognise alternative subculture as a recordable motivation for hate crime.

Last week, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) announced that it would start recognising and recording targeted attacks on members of subcultures, such as goths, punks and emos.

Previously GMP only registered offences against race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity as potential hate crimes.

Stop Hate UK welcomed GMP’s decision, although stressed that the law would need to be changed in England and Wales for subcultures offences to be treated in the same stricter way by judges.

Offences motivated by hatred for the victim’s race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity currently can receive higher custodial sentences.

Sussex’s Hate Crime Forum has now decided to incorporate subculture in its hate crime classification.

Sussex Police said in a statement: “There are many other groups in our society who have been targeted for hostility and crime.

“It is vital that the concentration on the monitored areas is not used to deny the existence of other hate crimes.

“We are therefore currently developing plans for a sixth strand of ‘alternative lifestyle’ hate crime for Sussex, for any other incident where the perpetrator’s hostility or prejudice against a person’s identifiable alternative lifestyle is believed to be a factor in determining who is victimised.”

Following the death in 2007 of 20-year-old Sophie Lancaster, who was attacked for being a goth, the Sophie Lancaster Foundation was set up to campaign against such crime.

The foundation has been working with Greater Manchester Police and Stop Hate UK as part of the new hate crime policy.

Meanwhile, the Argus reports Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne has promised to increase the reporting of hate crime in the county.