An Garda Síochána has introduced a working definition for hate crime as part of its diversity and integration strategy.
Under-reporting of hate crime was a concern for Garda Commissioner Drew Harris at the launch of the strategy in Balbriggan, Co Dublin today, and he said he wants a uniform response across the country in dealing with reports.
He said he hoped a new working definition for gardaí would help protect all minorities and diverse groups in society.
The strategy defines a hate crime as any criminal offence perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender.
Over the next three years there will be enhanced reporting, recording, investigating and prosecuting mechanisms put in place for dealing with hate crimes, along with a pulse record for non-hate crimes.
A training programme will be introduced for gardaí and garda staff for dealing effectively with people from diverse backgrounds.
As part of the strategy, a Garda National Diversity Forum with representatives of communities will be established to monitor and review its implementation on a quarterly basis.