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House of Lords written question HL47.

Question for Department for Communities and Local Government

UIN HL47, tabled on 21 June 2017

Her Majesty's Government whether they differentiate between (1) those who criticise a religion, and (2) those who insult its adherents, in their guidance, policies and other literature on hate speech; and if so, how.

Answered on

3 July 2017

A crime that is motivated by hostility on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity can be classed as a hate crime. Our hate crime laws recognise everyone's right to believe and practice their chosen religion, free from targeted abuse. This same right extends to those who have no religion and those targeted for intra-religious hostility.

The guidance to the application of our laws is covered in the Hate Crime Operational Guidance (attached) issued by the College of Policing in 2014 ( which guides the police on the application of our laws.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has issued advice to prosecutors which is available at

Answered by

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government