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Organisation

Irish Police Force (An Garda Síochána).

Start and end date

Start date:

2019

End date:

2021

Scope

National.

Target group(s)

All religious and racial minorities, Roma and Traveller individuals and/or migrants, including:

  • members of An Garda Síochána • ethnic minorities
  • the Islamic community • the Hindu community
  • the Jewish community
  • the Brazilian community
  • Traveller and Roma communities
  • migrant communities
  • asylum and refugee applicants
  • the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex community
  • people who are disabled
  • elderly people.

Funding

National (Department of Justice/government).

Objectives

  • Enhance the identification, reporting, investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.
  • Increase hate crime reporting and provide accurate and reliable data to inform intelligence-led policing to prevent and detect hate crime.
  • Introduce a working definition of hate crime.

Outputs

  • A full independent review of Garda diversity training took place in January 2020, and a new organisational approach to training is being rolled out. This project is being funded in part by the EU Internal Security (Police) Fund. Garda Diversity Officer training, which commenced in Q1 2021 and will continue to be delivered throughout the year, will be prioritised. Initial training will include:
    • online hate crime training
    • online diversity and cultural awareness training.
  • As part of the Diversity and Integration Strategy 2019–2021, a National Diversity Forum was established, which consists of representatives of communities and key stakeholders from across the entire diversity spectrum. Ongoing communication with members of the forum allows the Garda National Diversity Unit (GNDIU) to maintain links with the communities it represents. The forum is tasked with monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the strategy and assisting with the development of a communications plan for An Garda Síochána in relation to diversity and hate crime.
  • Under their commitments in the strategy, the GNDIU continues to reach out to all ethnic minorities, diverse groups and hard-to-reach communities to provide assurance and assistance, if possible. This includes promptly communicating with all groups across the diversity spectrum. The GNDIU arranged for crime prevention/COVID-19 advice leaflets to be translated into the following languages and made available on the Garda website and Twitter: Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, French, German, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian and Spanish.
  • The GNDIU attended the Age Friendly Ireland Programme and developed the ‘Don’t Turn Your Back on Elder Abuse’ social media campaign in support of World Elder Abuse Day, which was held on 15 June 2020.
  • The GNDIU collaborates with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland (which also supports people with dementia), the Disability Federation of Ireland, all religious leaders, mosques and Islamic prayer centres, the Hindu community and the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland.
  • The GNDIU also collaborates with the Traveller Mediation Service, Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre and local Traveller and Roma projects.
  • The GNDIU continues to support the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex community through ongoing liaison with individuals and leaders of support groups.
  • The GNDIU continues to liaise with the International Protection Accommodation Service in all direct provision centres (the system of asylum seeker accommodation that is used in Ireland).

Description

Under An Garda Síochána’s Diversity and Integration Strategy 2019–2021, actions are under way to improve the internal recording of hate crimes and encourage the reporting of hate crimes by the public.

The strategy has a significant focus on enhancing the identification, reporting, investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.

Key outcomes of the strategy include an increase in hate crime reporting, and the provision of accurate and reliable data to inform intelligence-led policing to prevent and detect this type of crime.

The first step in this process was taken in October 2019, with the introduction of a working definition of hate crime. The definition recognises the existing and emerging diverse composition of our communities and aims to protect all minorities and diverse groups in society.

The definition states that a hate crime is “any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person to, in whole or in part, be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on actual or perceived age, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender”.

In addition, as part of the strategy, updates to the Police Using Leading Systems Effectively (PULSE) Garda information technology (IT) system (version 7.6) in October 2020 have formalised the recording of hate-related motivations for all incidents (both crime and non-crime). This will enable the reporting of hate-related incidents and the more accurate collation of data in relation to these incidents.

The revised classifications will allow for detailed reporting of hate-related incidents. The use of consistent keywords that are based on the definitions in the strategy will also support automated coherence checks on incident narratives to verify the data.

Critical success factors

  • Building on the previous Garda commitments to support and be accountable to new Irish and migrant communities, and supplementing the Migrant Integration Strategy 2017–2020, the Diversity and Integration Strategy 2019–2021 has contributed to the continued increase in hate crime reporting. The numbers of cases recorded in 2013–2019 were 113, 115, 163, 290, 324, 340 and 251, respectively (the 2020 figure is likely to be affected by a reduction in most crime types as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic).
  • The introduction of a working definition of hate crime has led to an increase in data collection and a greater number of victims reporting hate crime incidents.
  • PULSE version 7.6 will provide the required IT system support to capture the data needed to report on all hate crime incidents.
  • A full independent review of Garda diversity training took place in January 2020, and a new organisational approach to training is currently being rolled out.
  • Introduction of the Criminal Justice (Hate Crime) Bill 2021 will provide for tougher sentences if crimes can be linked to hate or prejudice. It will also create specific, aggravated forms of certain existing criminal offences, if those offences are motivated by prejudice against a protected characteristic.
  • Building on the successful consultation with key stakeholders in the development of the Diversity and Integration Strategy 2019–2021, a National Annual Consultation Day is now held with key stakeholders as part of policing plan development and future diversity and integration policy development. This is now a key factor in An Garda Síochána’s ongoing engagement with individuals and communities.

Actors involved in the design and implementation of the practice

Consultations were carried out with stakeholders from new and minority Irish communities, who engaged positively with An Garda Síochána in the development of the strategy. These stakeholders included academics who have provided invaluable inputs in the development of hate crime conversations, government organisations, non-governmental organisations and civil society organisations.

Monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring of the strategy is carried out by the Garda National Diversity Steering Group, which includes representatives from diverse stakeholder groups, in addition to Garda regulatory oversight bodies. The strategy is also subject to quarterly ongoing review and will undergo a final evaluation in the last quarter of 2021.

Publicly available contact details

The Garda National Diversity & Integration Unit
Garda Community Relations Bureau
Harcourt Square
Dublin 2
D02 DH42
Telephone: +353 1 6663150
Email: diversity@garda.ie