Policing hate crime: Markers for negotiating common ground in policy implementation

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Abstract

This article considers the implementation of police hate crime policy. Victoria, a state in Australia, provides a case study of a jurisdiction where police have introduced a Prejudice Motivated Crime Strategy without an animating hate crime offence. The article identifies the organisational, relational and operational challenges and opportunities that arise in the implementation of this strategy. The literature reveals that successfully policing hate crime is impeded where the approach to defining and categorising hate crime is over- or under-inclusive. Over-inclusive approaches focus on community expectations while under-inclusive approaches are oriented towards prosecution. The absence of a legally bounded definition of hate crime in Victoria provides an opportunity to develop an approach that meets public expectations and operational needs of police, thus avoiding the pitfalls of overor underinclusive approaches. To realise this opportunity, the article draws upon the results of a research partnership between Victoria Police and a consortium of Australian universities. Synthesising legal standards with community interests, a set of five markers are advanced for frontline officers to negotiate, rather than assume, a common understanding of hate crime and to build police/community trust. The article makes an important contribution to the field by demonstrating that it is possible to advance the implementation of hate crime policy through strategies that are responsive to both legal standards and community expectations. (c) 2015 Taylor Francis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)680-697
Number of pages18
JournalPolicing and Society
Volume26
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • hate crime
  • prejudice motivated crime
  • community policing
  • policy implementation

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