Racial and religious-based offences drive increase in hate crime cases

An increase in racial and religious offences saw prosecutors charge ten per cent more hate crime cases in the final three months of 2023, according to latest figures.

Apr 18, 2024
By Paul Jacques

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said between October and December, there were 294 more hate crime-flagged referrals than the previous quarter, of which 240 were racial or religiously-flagged hate crimes.

The CPS’s quarter three data shows there was a 9.5 per cent increase in charges for hate crime-flagged cases compared with the three months before.

In total, 2,673 people were charged within this period.

Since July to September in 2022, the volume of hate crime cases charged by the CPS has been increasing, with the latest quarter resulting in a 20 per cent rise since January 2023.

The number of police referrals for hate crime offences also rose by 9.2 per cent from the previous quarter. The proportion of suspects charged increased to 88 per cent – 1.6 percentage points higher than July to September.

Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Kris Venkatasami, the CPS’s protest lead, said: “The rise in hate crime charges since the beginning of 2023, but particularly in the last part of the year, is concerning for all communities who are deeply affected by each incident.

“Hate has no part to play in our society. Our consistently high level of charging demonstrates our determination and independence to seek justice in all cases.

“We will continue to work with our policing partners and community groups to ensure people aren’t targeted for who they are or for their beliefs.”

Dave Rich, director of policy at Community Security Trust (CST), said: “Since October 7 last year we have seen an appalling increase in anti-Jewish hate crime across the country, and it is essential for the community to see that this is being tackled through arrests and prosecutions.

“Given this backdrop, the increase in charges for hate crimes in the last quarter of 2023 is a welcome development. We hope to see these numbers increase further as more cases work their way through the system, and we encourage anyone who is targeted by hate crime to report it to police and CST so that action can be taken.”

Iman Atta OBE, director of Tell MAMA, said: “From community feedback and the large number of cases that have come into Tell MAMA, it is clear that the recent Gaza crisis has caused a sharp rise in anti-Muslim hate cases.

“Our work with police forces and engagement with the CPS, shows that partnership working at this time is the cornerstone of better outcomes for victims of hate crimes.

“We are also heartened to hear about the increase in charging in cases that can ensure access to justice for victims of anti-Muslim hate and the fact that all partners in this process place the rights of victims front and centre in their work”.

Since the start of the Middle East conflict, the CPS has ensured officers have had access to legal advice while policing marches, including at the weekend when prosecutors were placed inside the Metropolitan Police Service control room for the protests in London.

Against the backdrop of recent spikes in anti-semitic and anti-Muslim hate crime offences reported to the police and community groups, the CPS has engaged with members of the Jewish and Muslim communities across England and Wales.

This includes regular meetings of its External Consultation Group on Hate Crime, with representatives from the CST and Tell MAMA.

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