CPS East of England has strong conviction rate for hate crime

13/07/2016

CPS East of England has a strong conviction rate of 85% for hate crime across its four counties Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk according to the latest Report on Hate Crime issued nationally today (13 July 2016) by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS East of England, Jenny Hopkins, said: "Hate crime is based on prejudice and hostility which has no place in our society. It may be demonstrated by offensive language, criminal damage, serious assaults and sometimes even murder, but perpetrators should be aware that we treat all cases seriously and we will work hard with the police to make sure that justice is done.

"Our conviction rate of 85% for hate crime is a strong one which is above the national average and members of the public in our Area can have confidence their cases will be prosecuted robustly and, if they are victims and witnesses, that they will be supported.

"We will be working with our criminal justice partners in all four counties to build on our strong foundations and identify where we can improve."

As part of CPS East of England's work to improve the way it deals with hate crime, the Area has a Local Scrutiny and Involvement Panel (LSIP) made up of representatives of diverse communities across the four counties, together with other agencies.

Co-Chair of the Hate Crime LSIP, Linda Bellos said: "The Panel has an important function in helping the CPS and its criminal justice partners to improve the way hate crime cases are dealt with and the services they provide to victims and witnesses.

"It is made up of volunteers who can pass on community concerns about crime and criminal justice to the LSIP. Members then feedback on the actions the agencies will take - or have taken - in response to those concerns. It means communities can have more of a say in what is going on and a better understanding, and the CPS can learn from the Panel's feedback.

"The Panel also looks at randomly selected real life hate crime cases and examines the decisions made; the way victims and witnesses have been dealt with; whether there is good practice to be shared or how standards can be improved. We make recommendations which are fed back to prosecutors and other staff to improve their understanding of how hate crime affects individuals and communities.

"Hate crime should not be tolerated and community members of the Panel would encourage anyone who experiences it, in whatever form it takes, to report it. By doing that, we can have a better idea of the extent of hate crime and then tackle these cowardly, abhorrent crimes."

Ends

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. You can find the full report on the CPS website: Hate crime and crimes against older people report 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 - PDF

2. Case Studies:

Cambridgeshire - A postman is racially abused by the defendant who tells him to go back to his own country. This is witnessed by a man working nearby who goes to check the postman is all right and the defendant makes racist remarks to him about the postman, then tries to punch him. The defendant is charged with racially aggravated threatening behaviour and causing fear or provocation of violence. He was sentenced to an 18 month community order which included a six month uplift for the racially aggravated element of the offence, requested by the prosecution.

Essex - A couple are followed around a supermarket by the defendant who uses racist language towards them. Security calls the police and the defendant is arrested. The couple do not wish to pursue a prosecution but two independent witnesses who are appalled by the defendant's behaviour make statements. The defendant pleads guilty to a religiously aggravated threatening or disorderly behaviour and was fined 120 which included an uplift of 40 because of the hate crime element, requested by the prosecution.

Norfolk - The defendant was the carer for a 92-year-old relative and withdrew the victim's savings - estimated at 57,000 - over a number of years until it was all gone. The fact the victim was elderly and vulnerable was identified as an aggravating factor. The defendant was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment and a proceeds of crime application is being pursued against her.

Suffolk - While police officers were giving first aid to an assault victim she became abusive and used racist insults against the police officers. She was charged with racially aggravated threatening behaviour and pleaded guilty at the first hearing. She had 47 previous convictions including for other racially aggravated offences. The prosecutor reminded the court of the need to uplift sentence because of the racial element. She was fined 165, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of 20 and prosecution costs 85. The court said the fine had been uplifted to reflect the racially aggravated element of the offence.