Tougher laws needed to tackle hate crime
I was horrified to learn that more than eight hate crime incidents were reported to the police every day last year in Northern Ireland.
The figure was higher than the equivalent rate in England and Wales, according to the latest inspection by the Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJI).
Brendan McGuigan, chief inspector of CJI, recommended that the Department of Justice's Hate Crime Strategy should be linked to the Northern Ireland Executive's Together: Building United Communities strategy, or any future cohesion, sharing and integration policy.
It is truly shocking to see the sheer levels of hate crime in Northern Ireland. Clearly, those who have no respect for their fellow human beings feel confident that they will get away with their disgusting behaviour.
It is up to all of us to close ranks and make sure that they don't.
Northern Ireland's hate crime legislation urgently needs to be reviewed and updated to make sure it is fit for purpose. We also need to investigate the potential for extending good relations beyond race, political opinion and religion to the hate crime categories. Gender also needs to be included in any updated hate crime legislation.
Belfast Telegraph Digital