Days after Greater Manchester Police listened to the Sophie Lancaster campaign and recognised a new category of hate crime connected to attacks on alternative subcultures they had to make their first arrests after an assault on a teenage emo.
Contrary to the trivialisation of the Manchester police’s ground breaking decison by the likes of Daily Mail writer Richard Littlejohn it seems that there is plenty of hate crime going on out there.
The 16-year-old boy was assaulted in the centre of Ashton-under-Lyne near Manchester and a 14-year-old boy and a 44-year-old man from Manchester were arrested and released on police bail until 7 May, pending further enquiries. The assault has been reported as an alternative subculture hate crime and will be investigated as such.
Assistant chief constable Garry Shewan said: “Officers will be reviewing CCTV and speaking to witnesses in order to investigate this attack thoroughly… the fact we were able to identify this as a hate crime is very positive. Just last Thursday we announced that we will now record alternative subculture as a hate motivation. We hope this encourages victims to continue to come forward so we can take positive action against offenders.”
Last week GMP became the first UK force to recognise alternative subcultures such as goths, punks and emos – the latter group shares fashion influences from the former two – as a recordable motivation for hate crime.
The new category will be recorded in the same way as hate crimes against people on the basis of disability, race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity to provide better support to victims.
The police made the decision in consultation with the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, a charity named after a 20-year-old goth who died in 2007 after she and her boyfriend were attacked as they walked home through Stubbeylee Park, Bacup. Lancaster suffered severe head injuries and never regained consciousness.
Her killers were sentenced in 2008, and the judge recognised her death as a hate crime because they were targeted for being goths.