Dont panic Disability hate crime convictions surge by 40 per cent

wheelchair user

Disability hate crime convictions surge by 40 per cent
Both prosecutions and convictions are up
Prosecutions for disability hate crimes surged by more than 40 per cent last year compared to the year before, official figures show.

The Attorney General’s Office released statistics showing that the Crown Prosecution Service completed 941 prosecutions for such crimes in 2015/16 compared to 666 in the previous year. Convictions were also up by a similar rate, from 503 to 707, also around a 40 per cent increase.

“The rise in prosecutions and convictions for disability hate crime are a direct result of the improvements we have made," a spokesperson said. “This includes training for all CPS prosecutors on prosecuting disability hate crime and working closer with the victims of hate crime, the police and other agencies to secure convictions.

“This sends out a clear message that these crimes are treated seriously and will attract a higher sentence for those who are found or plead guilty.”

Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece, the Liberal Democrats’ equalities spokesperson, said it was good that crimes were being prosecuted but worrying that there was such a significant rise in the figures. “It is appalling to see such a sharp increase in the levels of disability hate crime and discrimination,” she said.

“While it is good to see that more people are being prosecuted we know that this is an area of underreporting. What’s needed is more support for victims to empower them to report these heinous crimes.”

Sarah Newton, the Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism said the Government was also pushing for more crimes to be reported.

“This Government is committed to building a Britain that works for everyone and we are clear that there is no excuse for hate crime of any form," she said. "We are determined to stamp it out and have published a new action plan which focuses on reducing hate crime, increasing reporting and improving support for victims.

Jon Stone the independent
Thursday 8 September 2016