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Hate Crime scrutiny panel reviews London hate crime cases

|News, Hate crime
CCP Barry Hughes chairs the pan-London hate crime scrutiny panel
CCP Barry Hughes chairs the pan-London hate crime scrutiny panel

Community representatives scrutinised a number of hate crime incidents at the latest pan-London hate crime panel, which met on Thursday, 12 January.

The panel is chaired by London hate crime lead CCP Barry Hughes.

The panel plays an important role, bringing together representatives of various community groups, including the Jewish and Muslim communities, groups representing LGBT+ communities, and leading members of hate crime monitoring organisations, including Tell MAMA and Galop.

The panel is led by the CPS, with the lead prosecutors for hate crime in both London areas attending, and it includes specialist hate crime officers from the Metropolitan Police.

The purpose of the panel, which meets quarterly, is to give community representatives and interest groups a better understanding of how the police and prosecutors are working together to tackle hate crimes against all communities, to review the success rates and discuss issues where referral of hate crimes or prosecution success rates are lower than expected.

Meeting community groups also gives the CPS a better understanding of how criminal justice organisations might approach different communities to encourage reporting of hate crimes that, sadly, too often go unreported.

CCP Barry Hughes, panel chair, said: “It’s incredibly important that those communities most at risk from hate crimes have the confidence that the CPS, and our police colleagues, are doing everything possible to identify and prosecute those who carry out these hateful crimes.

“The panel also provides an opportunity for these groups to help us, by giving us a better understanding of how these crimes impact on communities, how we can better reach out to members of the community, and how we can increase the willingness to report crimes to the police.

“We know that hate crimes are vastly under-reported, so hearing from advocates and representatives of these groups is essential.”

At each panel meeting, a small number of recent hate crime prosecutions are analysed, examining how the cases progressed and identifying learning points for both the police and CPS for the future.

The examination also enables community representatives to better understand how hate crimes are identified, decisions on charges explained, while at the same time enabling them to challenge both police and CPS where prosecutions were not perceived to be as effective as they could have been.

Mr Hughes added: “By opening up our decision-making, both as police and prosecutors, we build the confidence of the communities we serve.

"We don’t always make the right decisions, so it’s important to be open and transparent and to learn when things don’t always go as well as we would like. By being receptive to challenge, I’ve also found that we get incredibly helpful ideas and suggestions from the community so that we can improve.”

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