Following the recent activities online in Lytham and St Annes Social media pages such As Look out in Lytham, Lytham St Annes News and We Are Lytham, it is understood that Lancashire Police are investigating racial comments that were put by members of the public in Lytham and St Annes on the various Facebook pages.
Making racist comments on social media can be classed as a hate crime. The term ‘hate crime’ can be used to describe a range of criminal behaviour where the perpetrator is motivated by hostility or demonstrates hostility towards the victim’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity. These aspects of a person’s identity are known as ‘protected characteristics’. A hate crime can include verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, assault and bullying, as well as damage to property. The perpetrator can also be a friend, carer or acquaintance who exploits their relationship with the victim for financial gain or some other criminal purpose.
Once a hate crime has been reported, the police investigate whether a hate crime has been committed. They refer cases to the CPS to decide whether there should be a charge.