When is a hate crime not a hate crime? – Kelly
Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has stated that the PSNI must be realistic in the assessment of what a hate crime is.
This follows a heated exchange between Gerry Kelly and ACC Steven Martin at the Policing Board over comments made about the burning of election posters and effigies.
Speaking following today’s meeting of the Policing Board Gerry Kelly said:
“The PSNI Chief Constable must explain clearly when a hate crime is not a hate crime.
“The attitude of the PSNI in relation to the burning of effigies and election posters was unfortunately summed up by ACC Steven Martin at the Policing Board’s public session who said the burning of such materials was like burning a piece of paper and therefore was not a hate crime.
“I am sure the general public won’t share this interpretation.
“When gun sights are drawn on the faces of posters of elected representatives or effigies of mother of three, Michelle Gildernew, or a priest who had recently passed away are burnt it clearly represents an act of hate.
“I pressed the police on what is their threshold for a hate crime and the PSNI could not give me an answer. This is unacceptable.
“The logic that follows is that while the PSNI say they investigate the reporting of such incidents they have already made their mind up that it is not a hate crime.
“Essentially what the PSNI have done today is given a get out jail free card to those who engage in these activities.”