Tackling Hate Crime

Tackling hate crime is one of the CPS priorities.

The Association of Chief Police Officers and the CPS have agreed a common definition of hate crime:

"Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender."

You can read more about hate crime on our main CPS website. Recent activity taken by CPS South East to tackle hate crime includes:

October 2017

The national CPS hate crime annual report was published and showed that CPS South East was, once again following on from our performance over the previous two years, one of the best performers in terms of the conviction rate for hate crime, ensuring perpetrators were brought to justice.

Across the South East, defendants were convicted in 676 out of a total of 767 hate crime cases between April 2016 and March 2017 an 88.1% conviction rate.

The area also had the country’s highest conviction rate for homophobic and transphobic crime at 90.2% and was second in the county for convictions for racial and religious hate crime, with a total of 553 out of 624 cases.

Figures for each county and each type of hate crime are available.

August 2017

The national CPS #hatecrimematters campaign launches and CPS South East supports it by issuing press releases to local media on a range of topics:

  • The introduction of new public statements and legal guidance on hate crime.
  • The use of "sentencing uplifts" in the South East, where defendants are handed a stiffer sentence because they have committed a hate crime motivated by prejudice.
  • Racially and religiously aggravated hate crimes, with local figures for the South East given, along with examples of the types of crimes committed.
  • The support available to victims of homophobic, transphobic and biphobic hate crime.
  • The launch of a new online guide specifically for disabled victims and witnesses, as part of the drive to increase reporting of disability hate crime.

July 2017

Our Local Scrutiny Involvement Panel met and discussed the latest performance data on hate crimes and received an update on the forthcoming CPS campaign to raise awareness of hate crime, #hateecrimematters.

Members of CPS South East staff received a talk from representatives of the True Honour charity, which aims to raise awareness of so-called honour based violence and forced marriage. It focused on how CPS staff can help to support victims in these cases.

May 2017

Our Hate Crime Coordinator attended a national hate crime conference, which discussed developments in hate crime detection and prosecution.

April 2017

Our Local Scrutiny Involvement Panel met and discussed CPS policies and analysed three case studies to see what could be learnt from them. The focus was on disability hate crime cases.

Chief Crown Prosecutor, Jaswant Narwal, speaks at an event in Kent about domestic abuse in the Christian community and commits to do everything possible to support the victims in such cases.

As part of the CPS South East focus on disability hate crime cases, press statements on successful convictions on these crimes are issued to the media.

January - March 2017

We have undertaken training with all of our prosecutors to ensure that we are correctly identifying all cases of racially and/or religiously aggravated hate crime.

January 2017

Our Local Scrutiny Involvement Panel met and discussed CPS policies and analysed three case studies to see what could be learnt from them.

November 2016

We wrote to external prosecutors who work on our behalf in the Magistrates' and Crown Court to ensure they were fully aware of the requirements for "sentencing uplifts" on hate crime cases and could support us in ensuring these uplifts are given by the courts. These increase the sentence for any offence where a defendant showed hostility or an offence is shown to have been motivated by hostility based on age, disability, homophobia and transphobia or racist and/or religious grounds.

September 2016

CPS South East staff learnt more about the gypsy, Roma and traveller community and what role domestic violence plays in these communities from PC Kim White OBE from Kent Police.

August 2016

Our Local Scrutiny Involvement Panel met and discussed CPS policies and analysed three case studies to see what could be learnt from them.

July 2016

Each year the CPS produces an annual report on Hate Crime and Crimes Against Older People. This includes figures from each CPS Area in terms of the number of hate crimes being dealt with and how many of them result in a conviction.

For the South East, we have seen overall increase in the number of hate crimes reported across Kent, Surrey and Sussex from 839 in 2014/15 to 888 in 2015/16. The number of convictions has increased 10% from 765 from 697, but the biggest improvement came with disability hate crime, where the number of successful prosecutions jumped from 23 to 38 over the two years, a 65% rise.

You can view the figures for each county.

Staff also attended a presentation by PC Kim White OBE from Kent Police, which introduced them to the gypsy and traveller community. She took them "from cradle to grave", explaining the customs at each stage of a person's life.

May 2016

We held a victim and witness experience workshop, inviting in some victims, so that staff could hear their views of the criminal justice system first hand.

This included a gay couple who were subjected to continued and persistent harassment dating back 14 years from their neighbour.

April 2016

Our Local Scrutiny Involvement Panel met and discussed CPS policies and analysed three case studies to see what could be learnt from them.

January 2016

Our Local Scrutiny Involvement Panel met and discussed CPS policies and analysed three case studies to see what could be learnt from them.

November - December 2015

All lawyers in CPS South East attended face to face training on disability hate crime as part of our commitment to improving how we deal with this type of crime.

The aim was to ensure disability hate crime cases are being correctly identified, that our prosecutors have a fully understanding of the impact this crime has on victims and to reinforce the importance of sentencing uplifts. These increase the sentence for any offence where a defendant showed hostility or an offence is shown to have been motivated by hostility based on age, disability, homophobia and transphobia or racist and/or religious grounds.

November 2015

Our Area Hate Crime Co-ordinator went to the Kent Hate Crime Forum hosted by Kent Police, which was also attended by representatives of various local community groups. It was an opportunity to raise the profile of hate crime and to hear about how police initiatives to tackle this crime and increase reporting of it.

October 2015

Our Area Hate Crime Co-ordinator took part in a webchat as part of Hate Crime Awareness Week that had been organised by Sussex Police. The panel consisted of representatives from the Jewish community, the Disability Hate Crime Network, and the Principal Community Safety Officer for Vulnerable Individuals from West Sussex County Council. They answered questions submitted by members of the public and also discussed hate crime.

From the CPS perspective, we talked about the training our staff have been receiving on hate crime and how decisions are made to prosecute in line with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. We also explained how sentencing uplifts apply to hate crime, which means courts can take account of aggravating factors in a hate crime and increase the sentence given accordingly.

At the end of the webchat, we were asked what the one main message was the CPS wanted to get across to people and we said we appreciate how much courage it takes for victims of hate crimes to come forward and we will do whatever we can to help and support them through the process of bringing their case to court.

Our Local Scrutiny Involvement Panel met and discussed CPS policies and analysed three case studies to see what could be learnt from them.

September 2015

CPS South East staff were given a presentation by the Jigsaw Project, which seeks to raise awareness of hate crime amongst those in the community with autism and learning disabilities.

The training aimed to increase awareness amongst staff of the issues that can arise when dealing with cases involving victims or witnesses with autism and learning disabilities.

The session looked at what autism and learning disabilities are, the possible implications when people with these disabilities are victims or witnesses, how to turn our understanding of learning disabilities into action and in turn improve our case handling and prosecution of these sensitive cases.