"Hate crimes are still unknown in the Police, specific and comprehensive training is needed"

In the midst of the commotion by the fatal beating of Samuel Luiz, the Ministry of the Interior issued an instruction last July, advanced by elDiario.es, which requires the National Police and the Civil Guard that “inescapably” crimes such as that of the young man from A Coruña originate from the beginning an investigation for a possible hate crime and that allows specialized agents of the National Office for the Fight Against the Crimes of Hate, dependent on the Secretary of State for Security, monitor the investigations.

With this decision, the department of Fernando Grande-Marlaska tries to avoid the recurrence of controversies such as the one that arose as a result of Luiz’s death, in which it was questioned whether the main hypothesis was that homophobia led his murderers to beat him to death. According to the instruction, the existence of any of the “polarization factors” included in a 2020 protocol – that the victim belongs to a minority discriminated against on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation or that the aggressor utters certain “expressions or comments” , among others – will “inevitably” entail that the police investigation is aimed at revealing the existence of a discriminatory motivation.

In addition to the reaction to the social alarm generated by the fatal beating of the young man, behind this movement of the Ministry of the Interior is the impulse of an LGTBI association of state, regional and local security forces and bodies, LGTBIPol, created in 2016 and which has a hundred associates. The “concern” for the “image” that was being projected by the National Police as a result of the investigations into the murder of the young man and the statements to the media by the investigators denying the existence of signs of homophobia led the group to write a letter to the aforementioned National Office for the Fight Against Hate Crimes, with which they maintain a certain interlocution since their collaboration in conducting courses, conferences or training activities is common.

“We remind you that in this case the lack of application of the Protocol of Action of the Security Forces and Bodies for Hate Crimes had been revealed, which establishes that among the polarizing factors that can determine the accreditation of a discriminatory motivation there is also the perception of the victim “, explains to elDiario.es the vice president of LGTBIPol, the national policeman Rufino Arco. “When the victim can no longer speak out, the perception of witnesses and companions about the motivation is taken into account, as a valid indicator of polarization,” he adds. In Luiz’s case, his friends claimed from the beginning that his attackers had called him a “fag” when they beat him.

In its writing, LGTBIPol alludes to the importance of “good police practice, which helps to ensure a fair and appropriate qualification in the judicial process and“ the result of which is issued by qualified judges and not advanced by the police in charge of the case, since that is their job ”. “In the end, the Ministry of the Interior ended up taking action on the matter and realized that the Action Plan to Combat Hate Crimes was ineffective in that sense because they were leaving many loose ends,” says the agent.

This will is reflected in the instruction addressed to the National Police and the Civil Guard, which establishes that the existence of “one or more” of the fifteen “polarization factors” included in the aforementioned protocol “will inevitably lead to the orientation of the investigation. in order to reveal the existence of a racist, xenophobic or other motive in the crime committed “.

In addition, those responsible for the National Office for the Fight Against Hate Crimes will be able to carry out a “direct and specific” follow-up of those cases that acquire special relevance due to the social alarm they represent, due to their complexity or due to the seriousness of the possible crimes committed. . In these cases, the members of the National Office may travel to any dependency of the State Security Forces and Bodies to ensure the closest relationship with the investigators, either at the initiative of the entity itself or at the request of the police investigation units. .

For Arco, this task of monitoring specialized agents is very relevant because it can make up for the institution’s shortcomings. “Hate crimes are still unknown in the Police, specific and comprehensive training is needed. People do not understand the complexity and importance of a hate crime because it has not been explained to them,” says the agent, who has been in the body. The problem is that this training, so necessary both for the purposes of investigation and assistance to victims, comes to a trickle.

“In the training, recycling and promotion centers, the issue of hate crimes is being dealt with in depth. But they have been accessed by the last two promotions of the Basic Scale and the Executive Scale and the people who have recently promoted. It is complex to work with the entire organization chart ”, acknowledges this agent, who admits that the usual thing is that agents who are already more sensitized end up being trained in this type of matters.

Although it is complex to train a group of more than 140,000 civil servants – where certain lgtbiphobic attitudes still persist despite the “professionalism” of the majority of agents, says Arco – this policeman insists on the importance of not neglecting this challenge. The Police and the Civil Guard are often the first door that victims call and the reports made by their professionals – and how complete or not they are – are key in the subsequent judicial investigation. “That is why it is so important that such training exists and that the appropriate questions are asked,” says Arco.


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