CPS Thames and Chiltern - Increased numbers receiving tougher hate crime sentences

|News, Hate crime

Increased numbers of tougher hate crime sentences are being passed by the courts after applications made by the CPS, data published today 16 October reveals.

Under hate crime legislation the courts must pass increased sentences where prosecutors evidence that offences have been motivated by hostility towards a person’s race, religion, disability, transgender identity or sexuality.

In 2017-18, 67.1% of CPS cases involving hostility on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity saw sentences “uplifted”. This means that overall the courts passed increased sentences in 7,784 cases.

In 2017-18 the CPS Thames and Chiltern percentage of hate crime sentence uplifts had increased to 66.8% and compares with just 1.0% sentences “uplifted” in 2009/10 when the indicator for measuring all hate crime sentence uplifts was introduced.

Jaswant Narwal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern, said: “Crimes motivated by hate have a devastating effect on diverse individuals in society and it is encouraging to see the courts are using their powers to increase sentences in the majority of hate crime cases.”

“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.”

“It also sends out a powerful message to the public at large that the CPS continues to pursue justice to ensure that offenders will be brought to justice for these crimes.”

“The notable increase in uplifts since 2009/10 reflects the hard work of prosecutors to robustly present these cases in court and we aim to increase the proportion even further by 2020.”

Jaswant Narwal added: “We know hate crime is under-reported but have a particularly distressing impact on victims, and that is why the CPS in Thames and Chiltern has been working with local partners to raise awareness of what hate crime is and to reach out to victims to inform them of what they can do about it.”

“Whilst the overall number of cases ending due to complainant issues has fallen, the Thames Chiltern total number of suspects prosecuted has positively increased by 140 cases since 2007/08. This reflects all local partners working together with CPS Thames and Chiltern to give assurance to victims about the level of importance given to tackling these crimes.”

“With the recent HMCPSI joint inspection report highlighting the good work of our network of hate crime co-ordinators, the data we are publishing today should provide further assurance to victims that the CPS is prosecuting these distressing cases effectively.”

Balraj Bussral, Independent Local Scrutiny Involvement Panel (LSIP) member said: “The CPS have created an excellent partnership working and scrutiny forum in LSIP. The forum provides a safe place where issues around hate crime, through from the alleged crime, police involvement and uplifted sentences through courts, can be discussed in an open and constructive manner. The panel provides hope in addressing the inherent weakness of an adversarial justice system. The key to creating safer communities could not be better described through the demonstration of collecting and disseminating lessons arising- indeed, this forum is a key vehicle for inculcating best practice, where all partners working together can make a practical difference to the criminal justice system.”

Superintendent Jim Lunn of Bedfordshire Police, said: "We are really pleased to see the increased number of tougher hate crime sentences being handed out. Everyone has the right to be safe and secure and to live free from fear or harassment. Hate incidents / crime are based on ignorance, prejudice, discrimination and hate and have no place in our society. We will continue to work together with the CPS and partners to tackle hate crime.”

Hate Crime Prosecutions: Performance Comparison from Annual Report 2007-2008 v 2017-2018

All Hate Crimes Sentence Uplifts 2009-2010 v 2017-2018

The indicator for measuring all hate crime sentence uplifts was introduced from 2009 onwards. This means the courts can impose tougher sentences. In 2009-10 the Thames Chiltern sentence uplift was 1.0% of hate crime convictions. In 2017/18 the percentage of hate crime sentence uplifts had increased to an incredible 66.8%. This is nearly a quarter (23%) increase from 2016-17 when the uplift rate was 43.8%.

All Hate Crimes 2007-2008 v 2017-2018

The total number of overall CPS hate crime prosecutions has fallen slightly over the 10 year period from 14,186 in 2007/08 to 14,151 (2017/18) a volume reduction of 35 cases prosecuted.

In 2017-18 the Thames Chiltern total volume of prosecutions has positively increased by 140 cases over the 10 year period. This suggests effective ongoing joint work between the three police forces across Thames Chiltern and the CPS.

The Thames Chiltern conviction rate rose from 76.4% (2007-08) to 83.7% in 2017-18. This is a 7.3% increase and encouragingly shows increased prosecutor understanding and good practice.

The volume of cases prosecuted has comfortably increased by 140 cases from 2016-17. In 2017-18 the conviction rate remained stable at 83.7% from the previous year’s 83.6%.

Racial and Religious Hate Crimes

The total volume of Racial and Religiously Aggravated Hate crime cases prosecuted in 2007-08 was 734 and has increased to 817 cases in 2017-18.

The conviction rate in 2017-18 has increased from 76.4% (2007-08) to 84.6% - an 8.2% improvement.

Disability Hate Crimes

In 2017-18 the number of Disability Hate Crimes prosecuted has improved to 55 cases - a massive 2,650% improvement in comparison to two cases successfully prosecuted in 2007-08.

The conviction rate for Thames Chiltern is slightly lower than the national rate at 67.3% - an 8.2% difference.

Homophobic and Transphobic Crimes

The number of completed Homophobic and Transphobic prosecutions has increased by almost double in the 10 year period. The conviction rate has also improved from 75.6% to 85.9%. This is an increase of 10.3 percentage points.

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