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Manchester Police will begin recording offences against members of alternative subcultures, such as goths, emos and metallers as hate crimes.

They will be categorised in the same way they do attacks because of race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity.

The change aims to enable officers to give more support to victims of anti-punk or anti-Goth crime, who police say often endure abuse, reports The Guardian.

"People who wish to express their alternative sub-culture identity freely should not have to tolerate hate crime," Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said.

The move comes after campaigning from the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, a charity set up in memory of a 20-year-old girl who was murdered in a park near Manchester in 2007 because of her appearance.The judge called the attack a hate crime.

The foundation is pushing for hate crime laws to include "alternative subcultures or lifestyle and dress."  Last year equalities minister Lynne Featherstone acknowledged that the five  categories of hate crime was "an incomplete list."

Currently British judicial guidelines call for people convicted of hate crimes to receive tougher sentences.

The victim's mother, Sylvia Lancaster, said the police move was "a validation of the work we have undertaken in the past five years and hopefully other forces will follow [Manchester police's] lead."

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Assaults against goths, emos and heavy metal fans to be recorded as hate crime by Manchester police
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