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Report

Police fail to identify hate crimes

Published fredag 15 april 2011 kl 17.43
Photo: Scanpix

Swedish police has been criticized for serious shortcomings when they investigate suspected hate crimes.

In seven out of ten cases, when a crime is first reported, police fail to accurately indicate whether the crime could be considered a hate crime or not, according to a new report from the National Council for Crime Prevention, BRÅ.

The agency has found thousands of cases that had been filed as regular crimes but should have been classified as hate crimes.

It’s been more than 15 years since the government passed law making crimes motivated by hatred for certain groups in society more severe, but still police have problems differentiating between hate crimes and other crimes according to BRÅ.

Justice Minister Beatrice Ask told Radio Sweden that she is aware of the problem:

“Yes, and that is also why we require more education and BRÅ works with giving police the foundation they need to improve,” she said.

Facts:

  • A crime is considered a hate crime in Sweden when the motive for the crime is the victim’s ethnic background, skin colour, nationality, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or gender.
  • A hate crime should receive a harsher punishment according to a law from 1994.
  • Many hate crimes are never reported to police according to a recent survey.
  • The most common type of hate crime reported to police is harassment and assault (43%) and violent crime (21%).
  • A majority of those who are suspected of hate crime have not been convicted previously.
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