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The practice helps to ensure transparency and a uniform approach by police and prosecutors when applying Section 266b of the Danish Criminal Code in hate crime cases.

The instruction contains detailed guidelines, supplemented with relevant case law, as to what should be considered a violation of Section 266b. All charges of violations of Section 266b must be submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions, along with a recommendation on how to charge the perpetrator. The Director then decides whether or not to proceed with the prosecution.

The guidelines also help to ensure that the police will clarify the hate crime aspect of the case during their investigations when circumstances indicate that a hate crime offence has been committed (in full or in part). They also ensure that the prosecutor collects the evidence that is needed in such cases to prove aggravating circumstances as mentioned in Section 81, no. 6, of the Criminal Code.

In this page:

Implementing the practice: step by step

  • 1995 - The Director of Public Prosecution decided to initiate a uniform scheme of indictment. All cases where a charge had been decided upon were to be submitted to the Director who would then make the final decision on indictment.
  • 2005 - The Ministry of Justice asked the Director of Public Prosecution to establish a similar reporting scheme for cases regarding the Act on Prohibition of Differential Treatment based on Race (see below for the full name). In addition, the Director was requested to ensure that all cases handled by the police that year, with hate crime as an aggravating circumstance, were submitted to them.
  •  2011 - The Director of Public Prosecution issued elaborated guidelines with detailed information on how to handle hate crime cases.
  • 2014 - The Director of Public Prosecution revised the guidelines as part of a project aimed at modernising the professional communications of the Prosecution Service.
  • Today - The instruction includes chapters specifically directed at the police regarding circumstances that the police should be aware of in connection with the investigation of hate crime cases.

The main steps in the development of the practice are:

  • Implementing a reporting scheme;
  • Gathering case law;
  • Forming elaborated guidelines.

Evaluation of the practice

The Director of Public Prosecution is responsible for assessing the impact of the practice.

The guidelines provide indicators and other relevant information that the police should be aware of when investigating cases of hate crime. These help the police to record hate crimes correctly in relation to the monitoring scheme of the national police.

Critical success factors

It is necessary to have a central unit to ensure that the practice is uniformly applied nationally. Resources also need to be made available so that the reporting scheme can be maintained.

Furthermore, it is vital to follow any new developments in case law in order to keep the guidelines updated.

Any communication materials should be written in simple, accessible language, as the police and prosecutors often operate under tight deadlines in a broad range of areas. Information must therefore be easy to understand. 

Elements transferable to other EU Member States

The practice is transferable as a whole, although the guidelines will of course have to be adapted according to the legislation of the individual country.

Key Facts

Start date: 14 September 2011.
End date: Ongoing (as of April 2016).
Scope of the practice: National.
Target group: Employees at the prosecution service and the police.
Beneficiaries: Victims of hate crime in general.
Key objectives: To provide guidelines for the police and prosecutors on how to handle hate crime cases.

Legal basis of the practice

The legal basis of the practice is a specific hate crime legal framework.

The practice is based on the Act on Prohibition of Differential Treatment based on Race, etc. - Lov om forbud mod forskelsbehandling på grund af race mv.

Section 81, no. 6 of the Danish Criminal Code - Straffelovens §81, nr. 6: - “In the determination of sentences, it should be considered an aggravating circumstance that the offence was committed because of the ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation or the like”.

Section 266b of the Danish Criminal Code - Straffelovens § 266 b: “Any person who, publicly or with the intention of wider dissemination, makes a statement or imparts other information by which a group of people are threatened, insulted or degraded on account of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, or sexual orientation shall be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for any term not exceeding two years. In determination of the sentence, it is considered an aggravating circumstance if the conduct can be characterised as propaganda activities” 

Designing bodies and partners consulted

  • The Director of Public Prosecution – Rigsadvokaten
  • No partners were consulted. 

Implementing Bodies

  • The Director of Public Prosecution – Rigsadvokaten
  • Regional State Prosecutors – Statsadvokaterne
  • The Police Districts  - Politikredse

Further information