We encourage everyone to report incidents of hate that they experience or witness.
If you have been targeted because of your disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity, we want you to report it. If you are aware of someone else being targeted, we also want you to report it.
If you wish to read this page in an easy read format, visit our Hate crime easy read document. Please note, this document is not produced by Police Scotland and may not be fully accessible.
What is hate crime?
Being targeted for your disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity could be considered a hate crime. You can also be targeted for more than one characteristic or perceived characteristic.
Hate crimes can include but are not limited to:
- verbal abuse
- damage to property
- threatening behaviour
- online abuse.
Police Scotland and hate crime
Police Scotland takes hate crime very seriously. We will take appropriate action and do everything we can to bring those responsible to justice.
Everyone in Scotland has rights that protect them from hate crime. Whether you live in Scotland, are here to work, or are visiting Scotland, you are protected by law from hate crime. This includes if you are currently seeking asylum or refugee status.
If English is not your first language, we will seek the assistance of an interpreter/BSL interpreter for you. This is to help you give us your report in your first language.
We want you to feel safe and comfortable when speaking to us. Where possible we will arrange to speak with you at a place you feel comfortable. You can also have a support person present.
Reporting a hate crime
We will listen to you, provide support and take appropriate action. Here is a summary of what will happen when you report a hate crime:
- We will listen to you, your report will be investigated and we will offer you victim support
- You will be contacted by an officer either by phone, in person or by your preferred method of contact
- Police Scotland will take appropriate action and you will be kept informed
- If Police Scotland has enough evidence, the person responsible will be charged with the offence and reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
- If there is not enough evidence we will still record your report as a hate incident and offer you support*
- Once your case is with the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal service you will be kept updated on the progress of your case.
*It is important to still report non-criminal hate incidents. This helps us get a clearer picture of what is happening in Scotland and where to focus our attention.
You can contact us and report hate crime in the following ways:
- By phoning 999 (emergency) 101 (non-emergency)
- In person at any police station
- By completing a hate crime reporting form
- At a Third Party Reporting Centre
- Text 999 (registered users only)
- Contact Scotland-BSL
- Keep Safe Scotland App
Getting support when reporting hate crime
In some cases victims and witnesses of hate crime do not feel comfortable reporting the matter directly to the police. They may feel more comfortable reporting it to someone they are familiar with or they may want support when they report.
To ensure everyone is able to report hate crime, Police Scotland works closely with a wide variety of partners who perform the role of Third Party Reporting Centres.
These partners have been trained to assist people in submitting a report to the police and can make reports on your behalf.