Spain's Interior Ministry has announced that it will be creating specialised "hate crime" groups within the national police and the Civil Gaurd to combat a reported rise in hate crimes.
Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Secretary of State for Security, Rafael Pérez, the leaders of the National Office for the Fight against Hate Crimes, and commanders of the National Police and Civil Guard took part in a meeting this week in which they agreed to create the new police units.
Held at the headquarters of the National Office of Hate Crimes in Madrid, the meeting saw the government establish eight priorities for action in regard to hate crimes, which have reportedly increased each year by around nine per cent since 2014, La Vanguardiareports.
Minister Grande-Marlaska commented on the cooperation the government has had with various NGOs on tackling hate crimes, saying: "Their collaboration has been key to the implementation of the first action plan and we are determined to further encourage their participation and listen to their proposals."
He added that the government wanted to work specifically with tackling anti-Roma Gypsy hate crimes, which he said have increased by 57 per cent in 2020 alone.
The new initiative comes as Spanish populist party VOX has called for Minster Grande-Marlaska to resign from his post after the Interior Minister attacked the populist party following an alleged attack on a homosexual man in Malasaña, a neighbourhood in Madrid, which turned out to later be false.
VOX accused the Interior Minister of "promoting hatred and violence against the third political force in Spain," and the call for Grande-Marlaska's resignation was also echoed by the leader of the Popular Party, Pablo Casado.
VOX leader Santiago Abascal commented on the issue on Twitter, saying: "The brutal aggression, in the end, turned out to be a crude hoax fed by the Government and its media lackeys to point out VOX."
"But the worst thing is that these manipulations hide the escalation of attacks on people because of their sexual condition, or on women, and insecurity in general because when the aggressors do not serve to stigmatize us, the cases are silenced and the victims are abandoned," he added.