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Police officers have the ability to flag a case as being a hate crime by ticking a checkbox in the police’s electronic database. If they believe it is appropriate, local police investigators can log hate crime cases when it is first recorded.

This allows hate crimes to be identified and recorded even when there is no legal ‘bias motive’ for grounds which are not explicitly prohibited by the criminal code, such as homophobia or prejudice on the grounds of disability.

Every month, regional hate crime coordinators prepare information on the relevant investigations in their areas. This data is sent to the National Hate Crime Coordinator, based at the Criminal Service Bureau of the General Police Headquarters.

The information is collected using a two-part spreadsheet. The first part is completed when a criminal investigation begins. The other is filled in when it ends (e.g. after referral to court). The sheet contains information on a variety of areas:

  • Information about the procedure - investigating police unit, the dates when the investigation is opened and closed;
  • The assumed bias motive for the act;
  • Incident description - date, location and its type;
  • The legal basis of the case;   
  • Actions taken by the police;
  • Information about the victim and the perpetrator.

The sheet automatically generates statistical tables and charts, along with a map of where hate crimes have occurred.

Based on this data, the National Coordinator produces a monthly report that is sent to the Ministry of the Interior and Administration. The Ministry then compiles data on open and closed investigations, and corrects mistakes in the spreadsheet.

Periodic workshops and training sessions are held for hate crime coordinators and investigators. The programme includes a session on the identification of hate crimes and information on how to collect hate crime data.

Regular meetings are also organised by the National Hate Crime Coordinator. They are attended by managers from the Criminal Service Bureau of General Police Headquarters, all hate crime coordinators (regional and national) and representatives from the Ministry of the Interior and Administration. These meetings focus on education and reporting:

The educational part aims to develop the knowledge of coordinators in various topic areas:

  • The characteristics of hate crime;
  • The situation of migrants in Poland;
  • The causes of prejudice and relevant judgments from the European Court of Human Rights in the field of hate crimes.

The reporting part discusses:

  • The level of hate crime incidents in the various regions;
  • The method of filling in the spreadsheet. 

In this page:

Implementing the practice: step by step

The practice came after the following steps:

  1. The need for a clear method of flagging hate crimes was identified given the lack of a definition in Polish penal law versus the hate crime definition from the OSCE Office for Democractic Institutions and Humans Rights.
  2. Regular meetings were established between all hate crime coordinators (national and regional), Ministry of the Interior and Administration representatives and the management of Criminal Service Bureau of General Police Headquarters to discuss monitoring hate crime.
  3. It was decided to introduce a new reporting system, as it had become difficult to distinguish hate crime among other crimes logged in the database.
  4. A checkbox was added to the police database for recording hate crime.
  5. Officers could then flag hate crime cases in the police’s electronic database.

Evaluation of the practice

The assessment of the practice’s impact is conducted by the Ministry of the Interior and Administration (Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnętrznych i Administracji), and the General Police Headquarters (Komenda Główna Policji).

The practice is discussed at regular stakeholder meetings. These are an opportunity to discuss problems encountered during the implementation of the system and to summarise the situation in particular regions.

The practice has increased the likelihood of the database providing an accurate and comprehensive picture of hate crime in Poland.

Critical success factors

None provided.

Elements transferable to other EU Member States

The whole initiative is replicable. However, its final shape would depend on the penal law regulations of a particular country.

Key Facts

Start date: 2015.
End date: Ongoing (as of April 2016).
Scope of the practice: National.
Target group: Police officers – investigators and hate crime coordinators in police units.
Beneficiaries: General Police Headquarters, Ministry of the Interior and Administration, and entities that obtain statistics from the Ministry of the Interior and Administration.
Key objectives: To ensure the collection of reported hate crime statistics in Poland.

Legal basis of the practice

The practice is not based on a specific hate crime legal framework.          

It is instead based on the Act on the Police, Statutory Tasks of the Ministry of the Interior which became the Ministry of the Interior and Administration in November 2015 - Ustawa o Policji, Regulamin organizacyjny Ministerstwa Spraw Wewnętrznych.

Designing bodies and partners consulted

  • General Police Headquarters - Komenda Główna Policji.
  • Ministry of the Interior - Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnętrznych.

Implementing Bodies

  • General Police Headquarters - Komenda Główna Policji.

Further information

None provided.


  • Human Rights Protection Team in the Ministry of the Interior and Administration
  • Email: zpc (at) mswia (dot) gov (dot) pl