Manchester Police Define Subculture Attacks as Hate Crimes
Police in Manchester are to classify violent assaults against punks, goths, heavy metal fan and transgender people as hate crimes in a move they announced this week is intended to help ‘alternative subcultures’.
The policy has been introduced in response to the savage murder of ‘Goth’ student Sophie Lancaster, 20, who was kicked to death by a gang of teenage thugs she encountered in a park in Lancashire in 2007.
“We are able to officially recognise that people who wish to express their alternative subculture identity freely should not have to tolerate hate crime- something that many have to endure on a daily basis,” said Garry Shewan, assistant chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, explaining the new approach.
“Sophie’s tragic death brought forward a need to recognise there are many other victims of hate crime that should be protected by law.”
The student died after a pack of up to 15 teenage thugs first attacked her boyfriend kicking him unconscious, before turning on her as she cradled him in her arms.
“Witnesses revealed that afterwards, “The killers celebrated their attack on the goths — or “moshers” – by telling friends afterwards that they had “done summat [something] good. and claiming: “There’s two moshers nearly dead up Bacup park — you wanna see them — they’re a right mess.” one press report subsequently revealed (Guardian: http://bit.ly/10yDwow )
The BBC followed up the story this week asking how Goths- and Emos- should both be formally identified.
“They are not easy groups to define,” University of Surrey sociologist Paul Hodkinson suggested.
“Goths and emos are in some ways quite similar – they both centre upon dark themes and wear dark colours and often eyeliner. The goth style draws on horror imagery, and both sexes often favour a ‘feminine’ style,” he explained.
Sophie was murdered several years before uber-flamboyant nightlife icon Philip Sallon was savagely assaulted in a similarly random street assault in the centre of London on Soho’s Shaftesbury Avenue. Speaking soon afterwards, his close friend Boy George suggested the attack which left Philip seriously injured ‘must have been something to do with the way he looked’.
“In the early 80s there was this sense that things were changing, and becoming more open-minded. But we don’t have that sort of gorgeous youth culture any more, the glam rockers, the New Romantics. People aren’t so individual any more,” he told the Guardian.
“There is this sense of why would you want to stand out and make a show of yourself?” he added http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/apr/08/boy-george-friend-attacked‘
http://www.report-it.org.uk/home (General safety tips: Stay alert – awareness is your best defence.
Leave venues with friends wherever possible.
Try to stay in well-lit areas.
Be confident – even if you don’t feel it.
Travel as if you know where you are going.
Take the most direct route and try to stay within areas where other people are around.
Trust your instincts – if you think something is wrong then act on it.
Have your keys available when you reach your home or car.
Keep money for taxis – the expense is worth it.
Jonty Skrufff: https://twitter.com/djjontyskrufff