Record numbers receive tougher hate crime sentences

17/10/2017

Record numbers of tougher hate crime sentences are being passed by the courts after applications made by the CPS, data published today (Tue 17 Oct) reveals.

In 2016/17, more than half of cases involving hostility on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity saw sentences "uplifted". This means that the courts passed increased sentences in more than 6,300 cases.

This year's figure of 52.2% compares with just 2.9% in 2007/08 when the CPS began compiling its annual Hate Crime Report, which has been published today. 

Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: "Crimes motivated by hate have a corrosive effect on society and it is pleasing to see the courts are using their powers to increase sentences in the majority of cases for the first time. "Sentence uplifts are important because they demonstrate that the CPS has built the case effectively, the hate crime element has been recognised and the perpetrator has received a more severe sentence as a result. The significant increase in uplifts since 2007 reflects the hard work of the CPS and police to present these cases in court and we aim to increase the proportion even further by 2020."

Overall, the number of hate crime prosecutions was down from 15,542 in 2015/16 to 14,480 in 2016/17, while the number of referrals increased slightly from 12,997 to 13,086. 

Alison Saunders added: "We know hate crime is under-reported and that is why we ran our recent #hatecrimematters campaign aimed at raising awareness of what hate crime is and what people can do about it. The drop in referrals recorded last year has impacted on the number of completed prosecutions in 2016/17 and we are working with the police at a local and national level to understand the reasons for the overall fall in referrals in the past two years."

The report also reflects an increase in the conviction rate for disability hate crimes - up by 4.2% to 79.3% in 2016/17. There were more than 1,000 prosecutions for disability hate crime last year - the highest ever number.