Fall in hate crime across the West Midlands

14/02/2012

The West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecuted a total of 1,417 cases of hate crime across the region in 2010 / 2011 compared to 1,567 cases the year before, a fall of ten per cent. However, the Area’s conviction rate increased from 83 per cent to 84 per cent during this period – the national average conviction rate was 82 per cent.

Over the same period, the Area prosecuted 317 cases for crimes against older people, compared to 294 prosecutions for the year before, an increase of eight per cent. The conviction rate also increased from 77 per cent to 83 per cent - the national average conviction rate was 76 per cent 

Peter Tooke, the Area Senior Reporting Officer on Hate Crime from West Midlands CPS said: "These figures are encouraging. They indicate that we are steadily getting more effective at prosecuting cases of this type. Our performance in dealing with crimes against older people is particularly pleasing, putting this CPS Area in the top three in England and Wales for our handling of such cases.

"The ten per cent fall in Hate Crime cases may be due to a number of factors and has to be seen in the context of falling crime figures generally.  It may be that less of these crimes are being reported or that they are being resolved informally.

"However, we are not complacent about the way in which we deal with these crimes. In the past year, we have started to refocus our work with community involvement panels, at which community representatives act as critical friends of the CPS, to help us improve the service that we give. We are also working with our police partners on the levels of service on hate crime cases that we can expect from each other. We are working on updated and improved reference materials on hate crime, which our staff will have access to.  We are also devising further training on hate crime for key members of our staff.

"That said, we are concerned that much hate crime is never reported to the police, particularly where the victim is disabled or a member of a Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender community. If they are vulnerable or intimidated about giving evidence, we can ask the court for 'special measures' such as them giving evidence from behind a screen or from another room via a television link, so that they do not have to face the defendant.  We and the police can also put them in touch with other organisations, which can provide them with support and practical assistance.

"We will continue to work with our partners in the criminal justice system and community groups to improve the way we investigate, prosecute and support victims and witness of such crimes." 

Other key data includes:

Racist and religious hate crime 

2009 / 2010 -Total cases prosecuted: 1,367 of which 1,148 were successful prosecutions (84 per cent conviction rate)

2010 / 2011 -Total cases prosecuted 1,237 of which 1,050 were successful prosecutions (85 per cent conviction rate)

Homophonic and Transphobic crime

2009 / 2010 -Total cases prosecuted: 118 of which 100 were successful prosecutions (84 per cent conviction rate)

2010 / 2011 -Total cases prosecuted: 113 of which 91 were successful prosecutions (81 per cent conviction rate)

Disability hate crime

2009 / 2010 -Total cases prosecuted: 82 of which 62 were successful prosecutions (75 per cent conviction rate)

2010 / 2011 -Total cases prosecuted: 67 of which 52 were successful prosecutions (78 per cent conviction rate)

Glossary

Racial & religious incident: any incident which appears to the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility towards a person's race or religion, or perceived race or religion.

Homophobic incident: any incident which is perceived to be homophobic or transphobic by the victim or by any other person.

Disability incident: any incident where disability is a factor in the offence. This includes any incident which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be based upon prejudice towards, or hatred of, the victim because of their disability, and/or where the victim is targeted because of their perceived vulnerability.

Crime against older people: offences in the categories below, where the victim is aged 60 or older:

  • Where there is a relationship and an expectation of trust, for example, theft or assault by a carer or family member;
  • Which are specifically targeted at the older person because they are perceived as being vulnerable or an easy target, for example, a distraction burglary or a mugging;
  • Which are not initially related to the older person's age but later becomes so, for example, a burglar where the burglar does not know the age of the householder, but later exploits the situation on discovering that the householder is an older person; and
  • Which appear to be in part or wholly motivated by hostility based on age, or perceived age. For example, an assault, harassment or antisocial behaviour involving derogatory statements associated with the victims age.