SO it goes like this.
YT attended the annual general meeting of the Thurrock Independent Advisory Group (IAG). It is a police watchdog and (in our humble opinion) a jolly good one at that.
Essex Police were in attendance. One of the issues that came up was Hate Crime.
The Essex Police Hate Crime Officer, Suzanne Parson presented a report on hate crime in Thurrock. As part of her presentation, she made reference to a number of complaints with respect to people with ginger hair.
One of the people in attendance was South Ockendon resident (and YT blogger, Mr Peter Perrin). Mr Perrin has an issue with the whole issue of hate crime (semantically and philosophically) and entered into a discussion on this. Ms Parson stood her ground and added that if someone abused a Goth or an Emo (google it) then that would also be classified as a hate crime.
Two senior Essex Police officers were in attendance: Supt. Andy Mariner and Insp Lee Argent. They did not take the opportunity to contradict Ms Parson.
On Friday, we wrote a story about it. It seems to have grown legs. We have now had a statement from Essex Police that appears to contradict all that has gone before, i.e.: If someone insults you for the colour of your hair then it may be a breach of the peace but it is not a hate crime.
An Essex Police spokesperson said: Hate crime is defined as: “Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.”
“Hair colour does not fall within this definition and as such is not seen by Essex Police as an aggravating factor when classifying an offence as a hate crime.
“We are aware there are a small number of cases where hair colour has been mistakenly recorded as an aggravating factor. We are working with officers to ensure hate crime reports are recorded appropriately within the definition of hate crime.