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Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

Hate crime up again but prosecutions down

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Although the number of recorded hate crime offences rose 29% on last year, the number of prosecutions actually fell by 6.2%

Hate crime up 29%

Earlier this week (17 October 2017), the Home Office published its annual statistical bulletin on Hate Crime in England and Wales for 2016/17

The headline findings were:

  • In 2016/17, there were 80,393 offences recorded by the police in which one or more hate crime strands were deemed to be a motivating factor. This was an increase of 29 per cent compared with the 62,518 hate crimes recorded in 2015/16, the largest percentage increase seen since the series began in 2011/12.
  • The increase over the last year is thought to reflect both a genuine rise in hate crime around the time of the EU referendum and also due to ongoing improvements in crime recording by the police. The Office for National Statistics have stated that increases in recent years in police recorded violence against the person and public order offences have been driven by improvements in police recording. Around nine in ten hate crime offences recorded by the police are in these two offence groups.
  • There was a further increase in police recorded hate crime following the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack on 22 March 2017.
  • The number of hate crime offences in 2016/17 for the five centrally monitored strands were as follows:
    • 62,685 (78%) were race hate crimes;
    • 9,157 (11%) were sexual orientation hate crimes;
    • 5,949 (7%) were religious hate crimes;
    • 5,558 (7%) were disability hate crimes; and
    • 1,248 (2%) were transgender hate crimes.
  • It is possible for a hate crime offence to have more than one motivating factor which is why the above numbers sum to more than 80,393 and 100 per cent.
  • There were increases in offences recorded for all five of the monitored hate crime strands between 2015/16 and 2016/17, reflecting the general improvements in crime recording.

Prosecutions down

On the same day the Crown Prosecution Service published its Hate Crime Annual Report for 2016/17.

In amongst the stats and pretty infographics (see below), one stark point stands out:

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 [only] slightly from 12,997 to 13,086.

The CPS aren’t clear about the reasons for this in a year when the number of hate crimes increased 29%.

Worryingly, it brings to mind a finding in last week’s CPS annual report on prosecutions of offences of violence against women and girls which also noted a a marked decrease in domestic abuse prosecutions and convictions compared with 2015/16, following a two-year fall in referrals of domestic abuse from the police to the CPS.

It is tempting to attribute the fall in referrals and prosecutions of both hate crimes and domestic abuse to the reduction in police funding over recent years.

 

Blog posts in the Criminal Justice category are kindly sponsored by Get the Data which provides Social Impact Analytics to enable organisations to demonstrate their impact on society. GtD has no editorial influence on the contents of this site.

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