Policing Hate Crime: Exploring the Issue with a Cohort of Sworn Police Officers

Birch, Philip, McNeill, Kimberley, Levtova, Yara and Ireland, Jane Louise orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5117-5930 (2024) Policing Hate Crime: Exploring the Issue with a Cohort of Sworn Police Officers. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology . ISSN 0882-0783

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11896-023-09641-y


Globally, there has been a trend in rising levels of hate crime that scholars have argued is reflective of significant social problems
within society. Research into hate crime has typically focused on the police and their subsequent response to this crime type, with
many findings reporting that the police are racist, homophobic and Islamophobic, to name but a few. However, existing research
seldom captures the insights and experiences of sworn police officers, as much of the data is gathered from third parties. This
paper presents the empirical findings from a Delphi study conducted with one police force in Australia, sampling sworn New
South Wales (NSW) police officers between October 2020 and October 2021. The findings focus on four overarching areas:
defining hate crime, perpetrators of hate crime, victims of hate crime, and responses to hate crime. These themes capture the
perspectives of NSW police officers in relation to operational and organisational practice in respect of hate crime. Drawing on a
Delphi method, the research outlines police perceptions of the nature of hate crime, as well as capturing how hate crime can be
effectively reported, recorded, and responded to. Conclusions and implications are considered. These include the requirement
for a clearer definition and targeted education strategies aimed at improving knowledge and understanding relating to hate crime.
Future directions include the development of a standardised approach to reporting, recording, and responding to hate crime.

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