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The training course consists of two one-hour sessions. The first covers:

  • The department’s diversity service and policy;
  • The legal basis of the practice;
  • Training and its importance within a national and EU context.
  • The importance of prominently recording the impact that the crime has on victims and society;
  • The role of the patrol officer;
  • Tools developed to report hate crime. Officers attending receive a copy of the checklist on paper, as well as information on how to access it digitally, on the closed police network and their intranet;
  • The use of these tools. The presenter talks through a one-page document outlining the tools;
  • Examples of cases and incidents that have appeared in media reports;
  • Tips and tricks on how to investigate and record the testimonies of victim and suspects;
  • Questions on the above.

The second session introduces a scenario where participants can apply the skills and knowledge learnt during the first hour:

  • A ‘normal’ crime is presented, but it has an underlying bias motive.
  • Police officers have to identify this and then report it using the checklist.

In this page:

Implementing the practice: step by step

An investigation was conducted into the need for hate crime training/analysis. This raised a number of questions that were vital during the development of the practice:

  • What are the internal training needs?
  • What is the frequency of hate crime incidents? Are the police reactive or proactive in their responses?
  • What is the quality of reporting? After analysis, this left clear room for improvement.
  • How is the idea viewed among local politicians? It turned out that the idea was still high on the local political agenda.
  • Did the training fit into the department’s internal budget? This decision was eventually made by the Chief Inspector of the department (an example of a decision being made at the local level).
  • How might training fit into future projects? An awareness raising campaign to improve reporting was decided upon.

The conditions that facilitated the implementation of the practice were:                    

  • Including the cost of delivery within the existing police budget;
  • Involving internal police partners;
  • Make the training mandatory.                                                                                                                          

The practice was implemented by:

  • Integrating the session into existing internal training courses, instead of creating a new one;
  • Creating a pool of trainers and planning who will hold the sessions (over the course of a year);
  • Updating the existing checklist (both manual and police order) on hate crime and communicating about this update. Using examples cases which ended in a court verdict;   
  • Making the legal basis of the practice publically available;
  • Making the checklist available on digital platforms and integrate it into software and hardware used by the department – e.g. tablets, intranet;
  • Acquiring suitable accompanying material (for instance, a one- or two-minute video);
  • Looking for a suitably equipped space (video/audio);
  • Producing a PowerPoint presentation outlining the goals;
  • Testing the presentation;
  • Holding a feedback session with stakeholders.

36 sessions have been organised thus far, attended by approximately 1,300 frontline police officers.

Evaluation of the practice

An assessment of the reporting quality is carried out by the federal police. The local criminal court and prosecutor also evaluate the quality of police reports.

The National equality body - Interfederaal Gelijkekansen Centrum – is consulted during evaluations.

Initial feedback has been given by patrol officers about the practice. Some of their comments included:

  • The training sessions are not overly long;
  • The content is relevant;
  • It has proved very useful in the field;
  • The training was delivered at a level understandable for people in their field;
  • It helped to open up a wider discussion about racism and discrimination;
  • It gave them insights into the department’s own diversity policy and projects related to it.

The practice has helped to improve hate crime reporting in numerous ways:

  • By raising awareness of hate crimes within the police department;
  • Positive media attention will reduce the number of unreported crimes;
  • It has created an impression among the public that any questions posed or reports given to the police on hate crime will be professionally handled;
  • Non-hate crimes (according to Belgian law) are now filtered out at the reporting stage;
  • Police reports now contain all of the mandatory elements before being sent to court. 

Critical success factors

  • Short training sessions are effective.
  • Keep any new training courses within existing budgets and/or integrate these into existing courses.
  • Reduce the theoretical explanations used in sessions.
  • Present police officers with real-life situations.
  • Make it available on as many digital platforms as possible.

Elements transferable to other EU Member States

  • Make sure that any form of training is kept short (one hour).
  • Use of the hate crime checklist

Key Facts

Start date: 4 January 2016. 
End date: Ongoing (as of April 2016).
Scope of the practice: Local.
Target group: Police officers patrolling on the ‘frontline’.
Beneficiaries: Citizens belonging to the 19 groups vulnerable to hate crime, as covered by national non-discrimination law. 
Key objectives: To improve awareness of hate crime and to implement the local ‘hate crime’ checklist.

Legal basis of the practice

The legal basis of the practice is a specific hate crime legal framework. It is based on:

  • Joint circular no. Col 13/2013 from the Minister of Justice, the Minister of the Interior, and the College of Public Prosecutors to the Court of Appeal.

This legal basis is explained by the Belgian Federal Police in a separate template. 

Designing bodies and partners consulted

  • The practice was designed by the Antwerp Police Department - Lokale Politie Antwerpen
  • The National equality body was consulted: - Interfederaal Gelijkekansen Centrum

Implementing Bodies

  • Antwerp Police Department - Lokale Politie Antwerpen

Image related to the practice (if applicable)

  • Checklist haatmisdrijf Lokale Politie Antwerpen original document in Dutch
  • Translated document in English
  • Powerpoint used in the training (in Dutch)