“In 2017 I would have hoped our society would have moved beyond the mindless hate that we saw during the Troubles. Regrettably, this has not been the case, and as Northern Ireland becomes more diverse, it seems that some people take issue with others simply because they are different.
“We urgently need a review of our hate crime legislation to ensure it is fit for purpose and keeps up with the changes that GB has made to better confront the problem. In addition, although I acknowledge and appreciate the challenging job that the PSNI and PPS do in this area, it appears their statistics need to provide more clarity on how hate crime reports are followed up, and prosecuted or not.
“Of course tackling this scourge is not simply the job of the criminal justice system, we need a multi-agency approach to tackle the ignorance and fecklessness that seems to lead to such appalling attacks. Furthermore, we need to ensure that those who suffer as a result of hate crime have confidence in the police and justice system, to report such incidents and ensure that the culprits are brought to book.”