Reinterpreting the UK Response to Hate Crime

Published 04/06/2020
Type Article
Author(s) Dr Wendy Laverick, Peter Joyce
Corresponding Authors

This paper considers the motivation and function of the UK’s hate-crime framework, offering a historically located interpretation. It discusses the development of legislation to combat discrimination- and prejudice-motivated harassment and offending before examining recent assessments of the UK’s approach. It then provides a cursory examination of the historical context in which the UK’s legislative and policy developments emerged. After exposing the limitations of the current UK response and framing this in a wider domestic and international context, the paper concludes by arguing that the UK’s evolving hate-crime policy framework currently remains partial and serves to obfuscate its social control objectives, along with the political anxieties related to the ideological and political threats and disorder that underpinned its development. The article concludes by arguing that the current framework has recently downgraded – and increasingly sidesteps – the need to address internal manifestations of illiberalism, including institutional discrimination, workforce representativeness, racial and religious disparity, and equal opportunities.