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Hate Crime

Hate crime is any criminal offence committed against a person or property that is motivated by hostility towards someone based on their disability, race, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation:

  • race, colour, ethnic origin, nationality or national origins
  • religion
  • gender or gender identity
  • sexual orientation
  • disability
  • age

Find out more about how we prosecute hate crime

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The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

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Stronger CPS cases in hate crime lead to increase in guilty pleas

14/02/2012

The CPS is prosecuting more hate crimes, more successfully and with more defendants pleading guilty than ever before.

As the CPS publishes its Hate crimes and crimes against older people report 2010-11, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, said: "All crime is unacceptable but offences that are driven by hostility or hatred based on personal characteristics are particularly damaging to any civilised society.

"I am particularly pleased that the number of guilty pleas is increasing as this demonstrates that our prosecutors are building stronger cases. The increase in guilty pleas benefits the victims of these crimes, many of whom would find giving evidence a stressful ordeal.

"Outcomes in cases of hate crime are continuing to improve. We should be proud of the work we have done to secure this significant increase but I am determined that we build on this success."

In 2008-09, there were 9,035 guilty pleas out of a total of 10,690 convictions and 13,030 prosecutions overall relating to hate crime. In 2009-10 this went up to 9,700 guilty pleas, 11,405 convictions and 13,921 prosecutions. In 2010-11 there were 10,823 guilty pleas out of 12,651 convictions and 15,284 prosecutions overall.

The fourth annual report from the CPS has for the second time continued to include crimes against older people for analysis. Although there is no statutory definition of a crime against an older person, prosecutors are now able to identify these cases and analysis of these initial statistics show referrals from police have risen year on year and it is important we continue to monitor these offences.

Mervyn Kohler, of Age UK said: "The rate of successful prosecutions involving crimes against older people is encouraging, and the process of identifying, recording and flagging a crime against an older person is robust. The escalating crime numbers are more likely to reflect the growing (and welcome) sophistication of the police and the CPS in this field, rather than signal a systemically ageist society."

For the first time in this report, the CPS is also collecting religiously and racially aggravated crime separately with a view to providing a more detailed picture to the communities affected. Of the 12,711 race-related offences prosecuted in 2010-11, 83.1 per cent were successful. The CPS was successful in 472 out of 565 cases motivated by religious hatred, a success rate of 83.4 per cent.

Mr Starmer said: "Last week, three men in Derby received prison sentences for stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation. This was the first case of its kind in British legal history and a significant step forward for us in protecting the LGBT community.

"This report highlights a lot of the excellent work being done by our prosecutors across England and Wales, using whatever measures they can to ensure the victims in these cases are able to give their best evidence to the court. This can involve using intermediaries to help those who need them to communicate with the court, as well as other special measures. These special measures will now be the subject of a specific CPS research project to ensure we are using them fully and appropriately.

"The CPS has an important part to play in tackling racism and religious hatred in our society and ignorance of disability, and I am encouraged by these statistics that we are on a firm footing to continue that fight. There is a lot more that needs to be done, within society as a whole, particularly in the area of crimes against the disabled community as I have already acknowledged."

Stephen Brookes of the Disability Hate Crime Network said that any increase in the figures of prosecutions relating to disability hate crime were to be welcomed. He said: "We are pleased that improvements in confidence building, leading to disabled people reporting criminal acts, is in part arising from Hate Crime Scrutiny Panels which create the identification of local priorities in partnership with the CPS, police and other agencies. Our aim must be to ensure that the figures continue to improve."

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. The Hate Crime and Crimes Against Older People Report 2010-2011 is available to download from the CPS website in English and Welsh versions 
  2. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  3. Other key findings of the report:
    • An increase in the number of convictions for homophobic and transphobic hate crimes to 1,034 convictions in 2010-11, a steady increase for the last four years, from 778 in 2007-08.
    • Disability hate crime convictions rose to 579 or 79.8 per cent in 2010-11.
    • The CPS prosecuted 15,284 hate crimes in total, up from 13,921 last year which is 10 per cent more than was prosecuted in the previous year
    • There was also an 11 per cent increase in successful convictions from the previous year - up to 12,651 in 2010-11 from 11,405 last year.
    • In March 2010, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) gave a public statement on disability hate crime in a speech at the University of Sussex, in which he stated: "I think we are still in the foothills when it comes to disability hate crime and supporting victims and witnesses with disabilities." He also stated that "Such crimes are based on ignorance, prejudice, discrimination and hate and they have no place in an open and democratic society."
  4. Recent examples of cases:
    • Ihjaz Ali, Kabir Ahmed and Razwan Javed were the first men to be convicted for stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation at Derby Crown Court by distributing leaflets calling for the death of homosexuals. At the time, Sue Hemming, Head of Special Crime at the CPS said: "Everyone has a right to be protected by the law and we regard homophobic crimes, along with all hate crimes, as particularly serious because they undermine people's right to feel safe." Ali was sentenced to two years, with 15 months each for Ahmed and Razwan. Mehboob Hussain and Umar Javed were found not guilty.
    • At Exeter Crown Court, James Watts was jailed for 12 years following his sexual assaults on severely disabled adults at the care home where he worked. "We have much to learn from the CPS lawyers there who diligently arranged for special measures and intermediaries allowing the victims to give crucial evidence."
  5. The DPP has set out what the public can expect from the CPS in the Core Quality Standards document published in March 2010.
  6. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three specialised national divisions: Central Fraud Division, Special Crime and Counter Terrorism, and Organised Crime. From 1 September 2011, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) prosecution function was transferred to the CPS.  A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales.
  7. In 2010-2011 the CPS employed around 7,745 people and prosecuted 957,881 cases with 116,898 of these in the Crown Court, and the remaining 840,983 in the magistrates' courts. Of those we prosecuted, 93,106 defendants were convicted in the Crown Court and 727,491 in the magistrates' courts. In total 86% of cases prosecuted resulted in a conviction. Further information can be found on the CPS website.
  8. 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. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.