British police have made their first arrests using new hate crime powers after a 16-year-old “Emo” boy was punched in the face.
After the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) adopted new crime recording procedures to protect people with alternative lifestyles last Thursday, they were able to nab a 14-year-old boy and a 44-year-old man for committing a hate crime against the Emo boy. They have since been released on bail.
The GMP are the first force to consider offenses against Emos, Goths or other sub-culture groups as hate crimes. Crimes against the now-protected groups will be looked at in the same way as offenses having to do with race, disability or sexual orientation, according to The Daily Mirror.
A friend of the Emo boy said: “What right does anyone have to judge someone on what they like? If they are going to classify crimes like this as hate crimes, that's good because it could make the punishment more severe when they are dealt with in court.”
Sylvia Lancaster, whose 20-year-old daughter Sophie was battered to death because of her Goth appearance by a gang of thugs in 2007, was the main proponent behind the policy change.
“Officers will be reviewing CCTV and speaking to witnesses in order to investigate this attack thoroughly, as we do with all crimes,” said GMP Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan.
"It is unfortunate that this incident happened but 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 sub-culture as a hate motivation. We hope this encourages victims to continue to come forward so we can take positive action against offenders."