Transport Scotland has launched a new Hate Crime Charter, aimed at tackling hate crime on Scotland’s public transport network.
Launched in conjunction with Disability Equality Scotland, SEStran, People First, Police Scotland and British Transport Police, the purpose of the Charter is to encourage transport providers, members of the public and other services to support a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime and encourage people to report incidents.
This builds on a pilot initiative that Stagecoach, First Bus and ScotRail operated in December 2019 and January 2020. Initial results demonstrated an increased awareness amongst transport staff who felt better equipped to recognise and report hate crime that they encountered.
Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity in the Scottish Government, said: “I fully support the launch of the national Hate Crime Charter for public transport. I commend the work of Disability Equality Scotland and partners for promoting this zero-tolerance approach.
“We want Scotland to have a transport network that is safe for everyone to use and this Charter will help to raise awareness of hate crime, in all its forms, and remind everyone that it will not be tolerated.”
Barry Boffy, head of inclusion and diversity at the British Transport Police, commented: “We’re proud to stand alongside Transport Scotland and all of the partner agencies who have come together to develop this Hate Crime Charter.
“The launch of this Charter is further evidence of our shared commitment to ensuring public transport that meets the needs of all passengers and staff – and is an environment free from hate and intolerance.
“At British Transport Police, we firmly believe that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect and have the confidence to work or travel on public transport free from fear, harassment, intimidation or persecution.
“This Charter is a pledge to not only those who live and work in Scotland, but all those who choose to visit this incredibly diverse and vibrant part of the UK. We Stand Together with you.”
Alex Hynes, managing director of Scotland’s Railway, added: “Everyone has the right to travel safely. Hate crime has no place in society and certainly not on Scotland’s Railway.
“It is a cowardly and disgraceful way of targeting someone on the grounds of their disability, race, religion or sexual orientation.
“ScotRail is proud to be one of the first transport providers to sign up to the Hate Crime Charter and we will do all we can to help eliminate this despicable offence.”