HC Deb 13 March 2003 vol 401 c395W
Mr. Gareth Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what further action he is taking to prevent racially and religiously motivated attacks on Muslims; and if he will make a statement. [100584]

Beverley Hughes

The Government are committed to tackling hate crime regardless of what form it takes.

The criminal law already contains a wide range of powers to deal with violent behaviour and harassment. This includes, under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, the ability for courts to issue higher sentences to perpetrators of crimes motivated by racial hatred. These measures send a clear message that the Government will not tolerate these types of crimes.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), working with the Government, have developed guidance for police forces on dealing with these types of crime (including racially and religiously motivated crime). This guidance is entitled "Identifying and Combating Hate Crime" and was last updated in April 2002.

Additionally, ACPO has produced an Operational Guide for the Management of Inter Ethnic Conflict, which will ultimately aim to improve officers ability to understand, communicate and interact with the many diverse communities.

The police service seeks to maintain strong links with representatives of Muslim communities. The Muslim Safety Forum, which brings together representatives of Muslim communities and the police meets every month to consider any issues of concern.