THE number of charges brought by Staffordshire Police for hate crime offences has risen by 16% in the last year, in line with nationally reported increases.
Chief Superintendent Jeff Moore, of Staffordshire Police, said the increase in charging for hate crime offences in Staffordshire reflected the national picture reported by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
“We recognise that hate crime has a lasting impact upon victims and Staffordshire Police is committed to bringing those who commit this type of crime to justice, while providing support to those affected. We have seen an increase in the levels of hate crime reported and we want everyone to have the confidence to come forward to us where they have been a victim.”
The CPS reported that hate crime sentence uplifts increased nationally from 11.8% in 2014/15 to 33.8% in 2015/16, the highest proportion recorded to date, while the conviction rate across all strands of hate crime increased from 82.9% in 2014/15 to 83.2% in 2015/16.
The CPS has published new public statements on how it will prosecute hate crime and support victims in England and Wales. It consulted community groups and criminal justice partners to produce these revised statements, covering the different strands of hate crime: racist and religious; disability; and homophobic, bi-phobic and transphobic.
In recognition of the growth of hate crime perpetrated using social media, the CPS has made a commitment to treat online crime as seriously as offline offences, while taking into account the potential impact on the wider community as well as the victim.
CPS policy also acknowledges that victims of bi-phobic hate crime have different experiences and needs to victims of homophobic and transphobic offences and that the CPS has a responsibility to actively remove barriers to justice for disabled victims and witnesses, ensuring they get the right support to enable them to give their best evidence.
Chief Superintendent Moore said: “Staffordshire Police works closely with other partners to offer support to those affected by this type of crime. We are pleased and support the CPS policy update on this that recognises that online crime can be just as impactive on victims as offline crime, and that it also recognises bi-phobic crime.”
The figures have been released as part of Hate Crime Awareness Week.
“The Hate Crime Awareness Week is a great way to increase the visibility of support that is offered and that this type of crime is not tolerated within our communities,” Ch. Supt Moore added.
A hate crime is an offence where the perpetrator is motivated by hostility or shows hostility towards the victim’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity.