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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 March 2007, 11:51 GMT 12:51 UK
Police plan to cut religion crime
The Scottish Police Service wants to reduce religious hatred
The Scottish Police Service (SPS) has unveiled its new action plan to reduce religious hatred and intolerance.

Deputy Chief Constable Colin Mather said seven goals had been identified to help free Scotland from religious hatred, prejudice or discrimination.

Mr Mather is chair of the Religion and Faith Reference Group for the Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland (Acpos).

He unveiled the action plan at an inter-faith conference in Stirling.

Acpos is working along with the community, religious and faith groups, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and other groups to ensure its action plan is carried out.

'Communication breakdown'

Among the goals it will address are effective policing strategies, consistent reporting and monitoring and consistent responses to victims as well as messaging to offenders.

Mr Mather said: "The Scottish Police Service is committed to addressing issues of religious hatred and intolerance and this priority forms a key element of the association's diversity strategy."

Pramila Kaur, executive director of the Scottish Inter-Faith Council, said the police and faith communities had a significant role to play in responding to crisis situations and promoting good community relations.

She said: "At time of tension, there can be a breakdown of communication and a loss of trust.

"A document such as the action plan produced by Acpos is a positive step towards building bridges and promoting community cohesion."

She added: "In our shared society, we are deeply interconnected and an attack on one is an attack on all."

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