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Spain’s Comprehensive Strategy against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (2011) sets the objective of improving systems in Spain for collecting statistical information about racist incidents and xenophobia, racial discrimination and other forms of related intolerance. This led to the development of police action protocols to deal with racist incidents.

The protocols contain:

  • An index of behaviours on hate crime and breaches of the legal regulations governing discrimination;
  • Indicators to identify hate incidents that must be included in police reports. This provides judges and prosecutors with the elements they need to describe the incident, bring charges and prosecute perpetrators. The indicators cover such elements as whether the victim belongs to a minority group, racist or xenophobic expressions or comments uttered by the aggressor, flags and signs exhibited by the aggressor, where and when the incident took place (did it coincide with an historical event), etc.
  • Guidelines about police action on hate and discrimination incidents and the sequence of steps that need to be taken;
  • Guidance on protecting victims and how to act;
  • Managing guidelines on hate crime on the internet and in social networks;
  • Guidance on taking action in case of violence in sports;
  • Criteria on recording incidents according to the different grounds of discrimination. This is necessary for data collection and allows the Security Forces’ Statistical Criminality System (SEC) to provide data classified by these different grounds;
  • Guidance on managing relations with NGOs.

In this page:

Implementing the practice: step by step

  • As a result of the Comprehensive Strategy targets, and because of the statistical analysis of the data from SEC, the need for a protocol to guide the identification and treatment of hate crimes incidents in Spain was identified by the Secretary of State for Security.
  • A first draft of the Action Protocol was prepared by the Ministry of Interior, with input from experts from the State Security Forces.
  • Once the initial text was agreed, contributions from NGOs dealing with victim support and defending human rights were sought.

Evaluation of the practice

  • The Secretary of State for Security, Ministry of Interior, Secretaría de Estado de Seguridad, Ministerio del Interior evaluated the practice.
  • The National Police Forces (Policía Nacional), Guardia Civil, and NGOs dealing with victim support and defending human rights were consulted.  
  • Statistical data on hate crime incidents reported by the police were used in the evaluation as well as State Security Forces reports on the implementation of the Action Protocol.
  • The analysis of statistical data from the SEC criminality system reported by police officers, shows an increase in the number of reported actions carried out against racist and discriminatory incidents. 

Critical success factors

  • Collaboration between institutions and policy actors led to a chain of actions which significantly improved the reporting and recording of hate crime in Spain in the last years. These included training police officers, improving the SEC statistical criminality system, the launch of the Action Protocol for police officers, and establishing a network of social mediators in the police forces. 

Elements transferable to other EU Member States

  • Recording system for hate crime.
  • Hate crime indicators to guide the identification of hate crime incidents related.

Key Facts

Start date: 8 January 2015
End date: ongoing
Scope of the practice: National
Target group: State Security Forces (National Police and Guardia Civil)
Beneficiaries: Members of State Security Forces ( National Police and Guardia Civil), NGOs dealing with victim support and defending human rights, hate crime victims
Key objectives: to improve hate crime recording in Spain; to improve police training so officers can identify and record hate crimes, as well as identify all elements that should be considered in police actions regarding these incidents.

Legal basis of the practice

  • The practice is based on instruction N. 16/2014 of the Secretary of State for Security, approving the ‘Action Protocol for the Security Forces for hate crimes and behaviours breaching legal regulations on discrimination’, and Instruction N. / 2015 updating the Protocol, Instrucción num. 16/2014 del Secretario de Estado de Seguridad, por la que se aprueba el “Protocolo de actuación de los Cuerpos y fuerzas de Seguridad para los delitos de odio y conductas que vulneran las normas legales sobre discriminación, Instrucción num. /2015.

Designing bodies and partners consulted

  • It was designed by the Secretary of State for Security, Ministry of Interior, Secretaría de Estado de Seguridad, Ministerio del Interior in consultation with:
  • National Police Force, Cuerpo Nacional de Policía
  • Guardia Civil
  • Spanish Observatory for Racism and Xenophobia, (General Secretariat for Immigration and Emigration, Ministry of Employment and Social Security), Observatorio Español del Racismo y la Xenofobia, (Secretaria General de Inmigración y Emigración, Ministerio de Empleo y Seguridad Social).
  • Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, Ministerio de Sanidad, Servicios Sociales e Igualdad
  • Foundation ‘Pluralism and Coexistence’, Ministry of Justice, Fundación Pluralismo y Convivencia, Ministerio de Justicia.
  • NGOs dealing with victim support and defending human rights.

Implementing Bodies

  • Secretary of State for Security, Ministry of Interior, Secretaría de Estado de Seguridad (Ministerio del Interior
  • National Police Force. Cuerpo Nacional de Policía
  • Guardia Civil

Further information

None provided.


None provided.