Large increase in London hate crimes resulting in conviction

23/10/2014

More than eight out of ten people prosecuted for hate crimes in London are convicted, according to the 2013/14 CPS Hate Crime and Crimes Against Older People Annual Report, a significant improvement on the previous year.

CPS London, led by Chief Crown Prosecutor Baljit Ubhey OBE, has the largest hate crime caseload in the country and the conviction rate for these crimes in the capital rose by 7% last year to 82.1%.

The report, which was published today, also shows a 20% increase in the number of cases prosecuted in the capital over the previous year, most likely as a result of better reporting. There was also an increase in the number of defendants who pleaded guilty.

Ms Ubhey said: "I hope these improvements demonstrate the commitment of CPS London and its partners in the police in tackling hate crimes, which are particularly nasty and unpleasant and can have serious consequences. Joint work with the police on better identifying these cases means these cases are treated in the correct manner and, where appropriate, are fast tracked to court. We are putting stronger cases before the courts and as a result more people are pleading guilty.

"Improving our service to victims and witnesses is a priority and I believe that the report also reflects that victims are increasingly confident in reporting these crimes. I want to assure the public that hate crimes are taken extremely seriously and, alongside more convictions, we are ensuring our prosecutors are fully equipped to deal with these cases. Training is provided to enhance their knowledge of the legal tools available and to provide better support to victims and witnesses to give their best evidence. CPS London also has a network of Hate Crime Coordinators who provide support to colleagues dealing with hate crime cases and monitor the quality of our casework.

"Our dialogue with community partners on our Scrutiny and Involvement Panel is also having an impact. They trawl through our cases and help to improve the quality and the support we provide, with good practice and lessons learned circulated among our prosecutors."

There has however been an increase in the number of cases that are unsuccessful due to victim reasons, such as victims withdrawing their statement or failing to attend court. CPS London will be exploring with its partners how this can be improved.

Ms Ubhey added: "There is undoubtedly more work that needs to be done, particularly in relation to disability, homophobic and transphobic hate crime and an increase in the number of prosecutions failing owing to victims reasons is a concern. The Disability Action Plan launched alongside the Hate Crime report will assist us in this and we will continue to seek to drive up our performance across all hate crimes."

Notes to editors:

  • The report can be found here.
  • CPS London is the largest of the 13 CPS Areas, with nearly 20% of the national caseload. We prosecute cases investigated by police forces in the Greater London area. During 2013, CPS London prosecuted approximately 102,147 defendants in the Magistrates' Courts and almost 21,000 defendants in the Crown Court.
  • There are four separate classifications of hate crime: Race & religious; Homophobic & transphobic; Disability; and crimes against older people. The CPS has specific policies related to Hate Crime, which can be found on the CPS website here.
  • The most significant conviction rate increase has been in disability hate crime convictions (from 55% to more than 80%).
  • In 2013/14 there were 3,001 hate crime prosecutions in the capital, up from 2,525 the previous year.
  • The number of defendants pleading guilty to hate crimes increased by 7.5% in 2013/14 to 69.8%.
  • The London Scrutiny and Involvement Panel is made up of community members, who have a crucial role in scrutinising CPS London cases and feeding back good practice and lessons learned to London prosecutors. Information on the panel can be found here.