Recording Hate Crime:
Technical solutions in a Training Vacuum
In Ireland, police record hate crime as part of their operational duties and their remit in collecting crime data. This article addresses the impact on the quality of official hate crime statistics of a technical change to the manner in which the hate element of a crime was recorded in Ireland in 2015.
The primary data were collected via two research projects conducted in 2015 and 2017. Both projects addressed the treatment of hate crime in the criminal justice process in Ireland. This article draws on interviews with members of the police and employees of the national Garda Information Services Centre (GISC) conducted for these studies.
While technical advancements were made in the recording of hate crime, by 2017 awareness of hate crime recording categories had not been mainstreamed among police officers and little support had been provided to them in interpreting the meaning of categorical labels. While technical training had begun to be rolled out, training on the substantive issues involved had not been mainstreamed and did not address the recording of discriminatory motivations.
The technical changes to the police recording of hate crime in Ireland evidence a progressive ethos with respect to:
- Recording the hate element of a crime beyond the limits of legislation
- Identifying victims of hate crime
- Including a wide range of identities
However, in the absence of agreed definitions and training, the impact of this technical change will, we argue, be limited.
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