CPS conviction rate up for race and religious hate crime
Categories: Latest News
Friday October 24 2014
The CPS report follows the release of hate crime statistics for April 2013 to March 2014 by the Home Office using statistics gathered by police forces in England and Wales. The CPS report also comes in the wake of National Hate Crime Awareness week.
The report provides information on the CPS’ performance in prosecuting racist and religious hate crime, as well as homophobic and transphobic hate crime, disability hate crime, and crimes against older people in 2013/14.
Although it is the seventh ‘Hate Crime and Crime against Older People Annual Report, it is the fourth year in which the CPS reported separately on racially and religious aggravated crimes.
Instead of continuing to use attrition rates, as with earlier reports, the report refers to conviction rates for hate crimes on the monitored strands. The report also includes analysis of data over the past six years, where available, to identify trends over time.
In terms of hate crimes overall, the number of hate crime cases referred by the police to the CPS increased by over 14% from 12,306 in 2012/13 to 14,702 in 2013/14.
The number of cases charged increased over the year from 9,564 (77.7% of all cases) in 2012/13 to 11,161 (79.3%) in 2013/14.
Similarly, the number of convictions increased from 10,794 to 11,915 over the period and the conviction rate rose from 82.6% to 84.7%. The report observes the conviction rate in 2008/09 was 82%, denoting a small but steady increase. In addition, guilty pleas accounted for 75.4% of convictions in 2013/14 in comparison to 69.3% in 2008/09.
With regards to racially and religiously aggravated hate crime, the number of cases referred to the CPS by the police increased from 10,622 to 12,184, an increase of 14.7%. Furthermore, the number of prosecutions completed in 2013/14 increased by 9.1%. The figures suggest that a greater number of racial and religiously aggravated hate crimes are being reported to the police and subsequently passed on to the CPS for decision.
The report reveals that the proportion of convictions increased slightly from 82.4% in 2008/09 to 85.2% in 2013/14. The figure shows that hate crimes are being dealt with more seriously though the proportion of hate crime to all crimes prosecuted by the CPS remains low.
The statistics from the CPS further shows that offences against the person and public order offences were the most common, representing 52.4% and 31.4% respectively of all racially and religiously aggravated hate crime prosecutions.
Additionally, the report observes that the top three high-performing areas in relation to conviction rates involving racially and religiously aggravated hate crime were in the Eastern (88.9%), South West (88.9%) and Cymru/Wales (88.8%) regions. The bottom three conviction rates were in Thames and Chiltern (81.1%), South East (82.3%) and London (82.6%). This compares to the national average of 85.2%.
The report provides a disaggregation of the figures for racially and religiously aggravated hate crimes revealing that 11,818 racially aggravated cases were prosecuted of which 10,069 (85.2%) resulted in convictions and 75.9% of the convictions involved guilty pleas.
In the same period, 550 cases involving religiously aggravated hostility were prosecuted, of which 463 (84.2%) led to a conviction. And 77.3% of the convictions involved guilty pleas.
The proportion of unsuccessful prosecutions due to victim issues such as victim retraction or evidence not supporting the case has increased from 23.1% in the previous year to 27.8% for racially aggravated crimes.
In comparison, the report notes it has decreased for religiously aggravated crimes from 23.1% in 2012/13 to 16.1%. However, the report acknowledges that the number of religiously aggravated hate crimes remains small, making it difficult to identify significant trends.
The Home Office report on hate crimes revealed that religious hate crime rose 45% over the last year, discounting the Metropolitan Police force which was not included in the aggregate data. The MPS figures reveal a 69% increase in Islamophobia in London for the period April 2013 – March 2014.
It is worth noting that neither the CPS nor the Home Office report disaggregates data on religious hate crime making it difficult to surmise the proportion of religious hate crime that is anti-Muslim hate crime. The MPS’s recording of Islamophobia under its own crime flag enables a clearer picture to emerge on the scale of Islamophobic crimes.
The CPS report reaffirms a disturbing fact about religious hate crime: it goes largely unreported. Indeed, this was highlighted in the Home Office’s hate crime report last year and in a research study carried out by the Hate Crime Project at the University of Leicester.