The Capital drives out hate crime on public transport

The first pledge in Scotland to end hate crime on public transport has been launched today (Tuesday 27 June) by the City of Edinburgh Council and transport partners.

The ‘Charter for Public Transport’ aims to provide ‘hate free’ travel and partners Edinburgh Trams, ScotRail, Police Scotland, British Transport Police and First Scotland East came together in Haymarket station to make their pledge.

The members of the Equality Transport Advisory Group (ETAG) and service providers have developed this joint campaign to give victims and witnesses more confidence to report hate incidents and highlight to everyone that those who victimise innocent members of the public simply because of their race, sexuality, religion, gender identity or disability will not be tolerated.  

The official launch of Edinburgh’s Transport Charter kicks off two days of action to raise awareness of the campaign. Partner organisations are hosting road shows at Edinburgh Waverley railway station, on board trams and on First Scotland East buses where representatives will be out on the streets talking about the campaign – discussing hate crime and advising what people can do if they spot an incident. 

Today's launch will see a roll-out of the pledges on trains, trams and buses around the city. Staff within each organisation have held special talks on what this initiative means and how they can help support it.

The feedback from the campaign and the associated survey will be analysed by the Edinburgh Community Safety Partnership so that all partners can benefit from the findings and know where to target support or heavier measures.

Today’s launch was attended by Humza Yousaf, Scottish Government Minister for Transport & the Islands.

Speaking of the official launch, City of Edinburgh Council Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “Edinburgh is a diverse and thriving city that does not tolerate any form of hate crime. The city is a safe place to live, work in and visit but sadly there is a small minority who behave in an unacceptable manner. This charter – a first in Scotland – is a fantastic step forward.”

Culture and Communities Convener, Councillor Donald Wilson, said: “The Edinburgh Community Safety Partnership want all passengers to have a safe and enjoyable journey and we want victims and witnesses to feel they can report these incidents and that they will be taken seriously. This is a key priority for all of our partners and their pledges reinforce that this is how Edinburgh operates – there is no room for hate.”

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “The support given to Edinburgh’s Community Safety Partnership Transport Charter is encouraging and clearly shows the commitment towards responsible behaviour and passenger safety.

“There is absolutely no excuse for hate crime or prejudice towards people working or travelling on our transport network and I am extremely grateful for the work of City of Edinburgh Council and partners in developing and implementing the charter.

“The Scottish Government is committed to tackling hate crime wherever it happens, whenever it happens and whoever it happens to, and I am pleased that we are currently working on the introduction of a national charter based on this very model.”

Managing Director at Edinburgh Trams, Lea Harrison, said: “Work such as this is hugely important, to help maintain relatively low levels of hate crime on our services. By signing up to this charter, we will help our customers continue to travel in the environment they have become accustomed to.”

Managing Director of local bus operator First Scotland East, Paul McGowan said: “There are few instances of criminal behaviour of any sort on our vehicles and we welcome this initiative which we hope will provide additional reassurance for customers.

“Ensuring customers can travel safely is our top priority. With our employees trained to respond appropriately to incidents and our vehicles equipped with important safety features, including CCTV, this charter complements the positive work that First Scotland East is already doing to meet that priority.”

ScotRail Alliance Managing Director, Alex Hynes, said: “Hate crime is unacceptable in all its forms and wherever it’s found. It can’t be tolerated.

“At the ScotRail Alliance we take a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime, whether it’s directed to our staff or our customers. We are determined to ensure that people travelling or working on Scotland’s trains can do so free from any form of hate. The Charter for Public Transport is an important part of making that happen.”  

Divisional Commander for British Transport Police, Chief Superintendent John McBride, said: “We’re proud to police a community which is culturally diverse and embraces everyone regardless of who they are or who they might love. 

“It is right that the diverse community we police is celebrated. In launching the Charter for Public Transport with our partners, our position on hate crime is extremely clear. It will never be tolerated and we will always look to take firm action against perpetrators. 

“The public can of course help us in driving out racism and hate crime on trains throughout Edinburgh and the rest of the country. If you experience or witness a hate crime, then I would encourage you to get in touch as soon as possible. This can be done by sending a text discreetly to 61016. We’ll then do all we can to identify offenders and bring them before the courts.”

Superintendent Richard Horan, from Police Scotland’s Edinburgh Division, said: "Tackling hate crime in all its forms is one of our top priorities here in Edinburgh and on a daily basis, local officers are engaging with various members of our diverse communities to offer reassurance and to gather information on any offences which have taken place. 

"We recognise that public transport within the city has, on occasion, seen incidents of hate crime occur and this cannot and will not be tolerated.

"Our Transport Liaison Officers work closely with transport providers to deter criminal activity and support investigations whenever crime occurs on buses.

"The launch of the Transport Charter is yet another example of how Police Scotland and our relevant partners are working together to keep the public safe."

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