Victorian State MP Calls for Police Hate-Crimes Unit

February 20, 2009 by J-Wire
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John Pandazopoulos has accused Victorian police of being reluctant to establish a hate-crimes unit  which would facilitate laying racial vilification charges where appropriate.The Racial and Religious Tolerance Act was passed in to law by the Bracks government in 2002 but police have been reluctant to lay charges.

Hate-crime units have been operating in Canada, the US and the UK for many years.

Mr Pandazopoulos told The Age  that the unit “would send an important message to the perpetrators of violence targeted at people because of their race or religion”.

Following several serious attacks on members of the Jewish community, Jewish leadership has echoed Mr Pandazopoulos’s requests.

A police spokesman told media that Victoria Police were not considering  a hate-crimes unit and that they were difficult to prove.

John Searle, President of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria told J-Wire: “We would strongly support the call for the establishment of a hate-crimes unit. It would give police the opportunity to get on top of crimes which are clearly racially-motivated.”

Mr Pandazopoulos, State member for Dandenong,  made his plea following a serious of vicious attacks on Indian students.

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