Manchester police make first arrests under new hate crime law after emo teenager is attacked


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The Independent Online

Police in Manchester have arrested two people for an attack on a 16-year-old emo in the first recorded hate crime against followers of alternative subcultures.

The force announced last week that it was classing assaults on subcultures such as goths and punks in the same way as offences against race, religion and sexual orientation.

The teenager, who described himself as emo - a rock music subculture that emerged into the mainstream about a decade ago - was attacked on Monday evening in Ashton town centre.

A 14-year-old boy and a 44-year-old man from Manchester were arrested and bailed until next month. Police are now reviewing CCTV footage of the attack that happened four days after the force announced its new policy.

Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said: "It is unfortunate that this incident happened but the fact we were able to identify this as a hate crime is very positive. Just last Thursday we announced that we will now record alternative sub-culture as a hate motivation.

"We hope this encourages victims to continue to come forward so we can take positive action against offenders."

Victims of such crimes will receive special support from police but unlike racially-aggravated assaults, the attackers will not receive longer sentences as it would require legislative change.

The changes came after senior officers at Manchester worked closely with the mother of Sophie Lancaster, a 20-year-old student who was beaten to death by a gang who took exception to her dreadlocks and piercings.