New National Hate Crime Charter for Public Transport Launched

Everyone has the right to travel safely. Targeting someone because of who they are is wrong and could be a criminal offence. Don't Ignore It. Report it. Features logos for Disability Equality Scotland, Transport Scotland, the South-East Scotland Transport Partnership (SESTran), People First (Scotland), Police Scotland and British Transport Police.

Today (Wednesday 24 March 2021) we are proud to launch the National Hate Crime Charter for public transport.

All people using public transport networks in Scotland have the right to be free from hate crime, prejudice, bullying or harassment. The purpose of the Hate Crime Charter is to encourage transport providers, members of the public and other services to support a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime and encourage the reporting of incidents.

Disability Equality Scotland developed the Hate Crime Charter in partnership with Transport Scotland, the South-East Scotland Transport Partnership (SESTran), People First (Scotland), Police Scotland and British Transport Police.

It builds on a pilot initiative that Stagecoach, First Bus and ScotRail operated in December 2019. Initial results demonstrated an increased awareness amongst transport staff who felt better equipped to recognise and report hate crime that they encountered.

Recent statistics released from Police Scotland and feedback from members of Disability Equality Scotland indicate that hate crime incidents have increased during the pandemic.  We want to encourage people back onto the transport network and to feel safe to do so.

Commenting on the Hate Crime Charter; Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson 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.”

Disability Equality Scotland’s Operations Manager Emma Scott said:  

“Our public consultations indicated that people would rather travel on a service that shows its commitment to tackling hate crime, than not. This Charter provides clear and common standards for challenging hate crime, encouraging reporting with the overall aim of prevention of hate crime incidents on the public transport network. We’re delighted so many transport partners are engaged in this process which will help everyone feel comfortable and safe to travel in Scotland.”

Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie (Partnerships, Preventions and Community Wellbeing) commented:

“There is never a justifiable reason to target another person, and hate crime is a despicable offence, and one which I hope is increasingly viewed with a zero-tolerance approach in our communities.

“Hate crime is an historically under-reported issue, and we can only establish the true scale of this type of offence if people give us the opportunity to address the incidents they’ve experienced. I very much hope this charter will encourage anyone who’s been a victim – or a witness – to hate crime, either on our transport network or elsewhere, to report it by calling 101, or 999 in an emergency, or through our third party reporting partners, who are listed on the Police Scotland website.”

“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.”

Get involved 

The Hate Crime Charter launches alongside a social media campaign, featuring a series of information graphics and a short animated video to highlight the key messages of the Charter.

Please follow Disability Equality Scotland on Twitter (@DEScotTweets) and Facebook (@DisabilityEqualityScotland) and share our messages with the hashtag #ReportIt

More information about the Hate Crime Charter, including information on how to recognise and report hate crime using a variety of accessible formats, is available on the Accessible Travel Hub website: https://accessibletravel.scot/hate-crime