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CPS report shows rise in successful hate crime prosecutions

16/12/2009

The Crown Prosecution Service's (CPS) second annual Hate Crime Report, published today, shows convictions for hate crimes have risen by eight per cent to 82 per cent in four years.

The report shows that significant steps forward have been made in the prosecution of all types of hate crimes - Racist and Relgious Aggravation; Homophobic and Transphobic; and Disability Hate crimes.

Keir Starmer QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, said: "This report shows how seriously we take all types of hate crimes.

"Being targeted because of your race, religion, sexuality or disability is a profoundly isolating experience and one we will prosecute wherever possible. People from all communities have a legitimate right to expect protection from the prejudice and discrimination that are at the root of hate crime.

"We are doing a lot of really good work - particularly at a local level with the Hate Crime Scrutiny Panels, but there is still more to do, such as improving our service to victims and witnesses to increase their confidence in the system and to ensure our communities feel properly protected.".

The report shows that the CPS has met the overall hate crime target, kept up a good performance on prosecuting racist hate crime and increased the numbers of homophobic, transphobic and disability hate crime cases being prosecuted.

The Attorney General, Baroness Scotland QC, who superintends the CPS, said: "In its second year, the CPS report of all such crimes sends a clear message: that there is no hierarchy of hate crime - they are all equally corrosive to society and to victims.

"The way in which Scrutiny Panels are opening up our performance to community scrutiny has also been an inspiration for the Community Prosecutor approach, which the CPS introduced this year to make decisions more transparent to local people and help us to better protect them."

Ends

  1. Media enquiries by phone: 020 7710 8127. Out of hours pager: 07699 781926.
  2. The Hate Crime Report is available on the CPS website

    Key facts:

    Hate crime - Overall key findings

    • In the four years ending March 2009, over 49,200 defendants were prosecuted for hate crimes
    • The conviction rate rose from 74% in 2005 - 06 to 82% in 2008 - 09
    • Guilty pleas increased from 64% to 69%
    • The majority of defendants across the hate crime strands were men.
    • Data on victim demographics are less complete and remain under development. However, where gender is known, men formed the largest proportion of victims across all strands, at 68% of the total.
    • The most commonly prosecuted offences were those against the person and public order offences (43% and 40% of the total respectively).
    • 75% of hate crime defendants were identified as belonging to the White British Category, and 79% were categorised as White.

    Racist and religious crime- key findings

    • In the four years ending March 2009, over 45,200 defendants were prosecuted for crimes involving racist or religious crime.
    • Convictions rose from 74% in 2005 - 06 to 82% in 2008 - 09.
    • Guilty pleas increased from 64% to just under 70%.
    • The majority of defendants were men at 85%

    Homophobic and transphobic crime- key findings

    • In the four years ending in March 2009, over 3,400 defendants were prosecuted for homophobic or transphobic crimes.
    • Over the same period, convictions rose from 71% to 81%
    • Guilty pleas increased from 58% to 67%
    • The majority of defendants were men (86%)

    Disability hate crime- key findings

    • In the two years ending March 2009, 576 defendants were prosecuted for disability hate crime.
    • In 2008-9 76% of cases resulted in conviction. There were 299 cases successfully prosecuted in 2008-9 compared to 141 in 2007-8.
  3. The Crown Prosecution Service is the independent authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute
    • Preparing cases for court
    • Presenting cases at court
  4. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). These are organised into 14 Groups, plus CPS London, each overseen by Group Chair, a senior CCP. In addition there are four specialised national divisions: Organised Crime, Special Crime, Counter-Terrorism and the Fraud Prosecution Division. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,250 people and prosecuted 1,032,598 cases with an overall conviction rate of 86.6% in 2008-2009. Further information can be found on our website.

    More about the CPS

  5. The DPP has published his long term vision for the prosecution service and its role within the wider criminal justice system. It includes modernising the service and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of criminal justice - read "The Public Prosecution Service: Setting the Standard" at www.cps.gov.uk/pps
  6. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests.

    Publicity and the Criminal Justice System protocol