Religious hate crimes reduced

amphoto - John Lamont MSP Scottish Conservative Party  pictured in his office in the Scottish Parliament  at Holyrood in Edinburgh'No Syndication No Sales'Picture ALLAN MILLIGAN Tuesday11th January 2011'mobile  07884 26 78 79'e-mail -    a35m@yahoo.com'...covering Politics in Scotland....
amphoto - John Lamont MSP Scottish Conservative Party pictured in his office in the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood in Edinburgh'No Syndication No Sales'Picture ALLAN MILLIGAN Tuesday11th January 2011'mobile 07884 26 78 79'e-mail - a35m@yahoo.com'...covering Politics in Scotland....

The Borders was one of only two Scottish local authority areas where there were no charges of religiously aggravated crime over the past year.

This is an improvement on recent years: there were seven charges occurring in 2010-11, one charge being brought forward in 2011-12.

But while welcoming the figures Berwickshire MSP John Lamont warns against complacency.

He said: “Religiously aggravated crimes have been a problem that has blighted Scotland for a long time.

“The latest statistics from the Scottish Government show that hundreds of charges across Scotland have been brought forward over the last year, with some now falling under the SNP’s flawed sectarian legislation.

“It is great to see, however, that the statistics also show that there were no charges for religiously aggravated crimes in the Borders for the whole of last year. This is a marked improvement on recent years, and to go from having seven cases down to none in just two years shows that progress is being made.

“It is particularly impressive as the only other local authority area (Shetland Islands) that had no charges in the last year has a considerably smaller population than the Borders. Hate crime is something that we must always do our upmost to fight against, and I am glad to see that in the Borders we are doing such a good job.”

“However, it is important that we do not get complacent regarding these statistics. We need to continue to teach children and adults in our communities that any crime based on someone’s religion is entirely unacceptable and that those caught committing these crimes will be punished.”