Police to treat attacks on goths and punks as hate crimes

Famous goths include the musician Marilyn Manson Credit: Yui Mok/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Greater Manchester Police have begun recording offences against goths, emos and punks as hate crimes.

It is believed to be the first police force to treat abuse against alternative subcultures the same way as attacks based on race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity.

A police spokesman said the force would record "alternative sub-culture related hate crime" from now on, as part of its response to the murder of a woman dressed as a goth in Lancashire.

Sophie Lancaster, 20, was kicked and stamped to death in a park in Bacup in August 2007.

The police spokesman said:

We feel that adding this extra category of hate crime will help us better understand how some people are suffering from crimes because of their appearance, and better respond to the needs of victims of crime.

He said alternative subculture hate crimes could now be reported by the public via the True Vision website.

Greater Manchester Police is working with the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which is campaigning to get hate crimes laws expanded to include "alternative subcultures or lifestyle and dress" and has gained support from musicians including Gary Numan and Courtney Love.

There are no immediate plans to change the national hate crimes register, but last year Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone acknowledged that the five recognized categories of hate crime was "an incomplete list".