Hate crimes recorded by police hit record high, Home Office figures show.

Religious hate crime has rocketed by 40 per cent in a year across England and Wales, as the number of offences recorded hits a record high.

New statistics released by the Home Office said more than half of religiously-motivated attacks in 2017-18 were directed at Muslims and the next most-commonly targeted group was Jewish people.

Police recorded a total of 94,098 hate crime offences – more than double the total five years ago – and all categories saw a rise.

“This increase is thought to be largely driven by improvements in police recording, although there has been spikes in hate crime following certain events such as the EU referendum and the terrorist attacks in 2017,” the Home Office document said.

“It is thought that the sharp increase in religious hate crimes is due to a rise in these offences following the terrorist attacks in 2017.”

The period covered by the report, April 2017 to March 2018, covers the Islamist atrocities in Manchester, London Bridge and Parsons Green, as well as the far-right Finsbury Park attack.

Darren Osborne, who ploughed a hired van into Muslims leaving Ramadan prayers, cited Isis-inspired attacks among his motivations after being radicalised online in a matter of weeks.

The Home Office said terror offences may also be considered hate crimes, but while the Finsbury Park attack was counted because it was directed against Muslims, Islamists’ declared hatred for Western values could not yet be counted.

Three quarters of hate crimes were recorded as racially motivated, with the number of offences rising by 40 per cent.

Another 12 per cent of incidents were motivated by sexual orientation, up 27 per cent, 9 per cent religious, up 40 per cent, 8 per cent disability, up 30 per cent, and 2 per cent transgender, which was up 32 per cent.

The overall conviction rate for hate crimes has increased to 84.7 per cent, but only a small proportion of reported incidents – 12 per cent – end with someone being charged or summonsed to court.

Around two thirds of victims felt police had treated them fairly, lower than average, and they were more likely to say they had been emotionally effected or been left feeling vulnerable.

The figures were released the day after the government announced a wide-ranging review of hate crime laws, which will consider whether to add new “protected characteristics” including age and gender.

A spokesperson for the Law Commission told The Independent both misogyny and misandry would be considered and it is “not prioritising one area over another”. 

Hate crime is not an offence in itself, but is used to describe other crimes “motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic”, such as attacks and vandalism.

Violence against the person, public order offences, criminal damage and arson made up 96 per cent of hate-crime flagged offences.

Hatred was used to increase punishments handed out in court in more than two thirds of cases involving hostility on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability in the year.

A Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) report said sentences were “uplifted” in around 7,700 cases, compared to just a handful a decade ago. 

Chris Long, a chief crown prosecutor, said: “We know being a victim of hate crime is particularly distressing because of the personal nature of the incident and the CPS is committed to robustly prosecuting these cases.

“The continuing increase in the number of offenders who receive increased sentences is a testament to the work of the CPS in building the cases correctly and providing the courts with the information they need to sentence appropriately.” 

Findings from the separate Crime Survey for England and Wales, which tracks the public’s experience of crime rather than what is recorded by police, indicate a drop of 40 per cent in hate crime incidents in the past decade.

 

www . Independent . co . uk  

Lancashire PC in running for award for vital service

A police officer has been short-listed for a national award in recognition of his service to the public.

PC Ian Ashton, community cohesion and hate crime officer for Lancashire police, is one of eight people across the country in the running for a National Diversity Award.

Ian is in with a chance of winning the Positive Role Model Award for LGBT as a result of his contribution to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The National Diversity Awards is the largest diversity awards in the UK. They aim to celebrate positive role models in a number of different categories, including disability, gender, age, and race, religion and faith.

Diverse companies and community organisations are also celebrated at the event. The winners of the competition will be announced on September 8 at the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool.

People who wish to attend the ceremony can purchase tickets on the awards’ website at www.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/tickets, or call 0845 077 9300.

Original Source – Blackpool Gazette – http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/lancashire-pc-in-running-for-award-for-vital-service-1-8632235

People with autism among most likely to fall victim to disability hate crime, figures show

People who suffer from learning disabilities and autism are considerably more likely to experience hate crime than other disabled groups, figures show.

Analysis by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows people whose disability impacts them “socially and behaviourally” were four times more likely to be victims than those who said their disability impacted their mobility, stamina, and vision, as well as those with mental health problems.

Of a total of 88,000 adult victims of hate crime against the person between 2013 and 2016, 32 per cent were victims of a disability-motivated hate crime, according to the ONS statistics.

Adults who stated their illness or disability affected them socially or behaviourally, with conditions such as autism, had the highest prevalence rate (2 per cent) and were over four times more likely to be a victim of a disability-motivated personal hate crime than adults who stated their disability affected their stamina (0.3 per cent of adults), mobility or vision (0.4 per cent of adults) or their mental health (0.5 per cent of adults).

The findings, compiled on behalf of disability charity Dimensions, come after research by the charity in August found that nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of respondents had been victims of learning disability and autism hate crime — 53 per cent in the past year alone.

One victim supported by the charity, Alex, a man with a mild to moderate learning disability, found himself victim to exploitation by someone he believed was his friend.  As someone who didn’t find it easy to make friends, when Alex met a friendly man he was happy. They went on holiday together and he considered the man to be his best friend.

But the man was not who he seemed to be. He would sell Alex things at hugely inflated prices – like a knackered old stereo for £300. Alex didn’t really want them but couldn’t say no. When his “friend” loaned him £50, and only asked for £100 back, he thought it was “mates rates”. When he was aggressive towards Alex – violent one minute, friendly the next — he believed that was just being mates too.

Alex started being secretive, going out alone or staying in his room, and refusing to let people see his mobile phone. He became stressed, and was unaccountably broke.

Then came the breakdown. Alex was admitted to hospital. After a while he allowed staff to see his mobile phone, and that’s when the scale of the problem became clear Alex had paid the man well over £2,000 and he was calling in numerous other “debts”, with threats of violence.

Alex was supported to call the police and the local authority safeguarding team. His SIM card was changed, and the man was ordered not to approach Alex’s house. But he could still follow him to work, or to the café, and when Alex moved house, he returned.

The police don’t yet have the powers they need to charge him with anything, according to Dimensions.

Another man supported by the charity, Richard, who has a mild learning disability, experienced bullying throughout school and as an older teenager was targeted inside his flat by local youths, who would climb up onto his balcony, threaten him and call him names inside his flat.

He couldn’t persuade the police to take action and while his local councillor tried to help by getting anti climb paint put on his flat below the balcony, the youths continued to access his flat by putting planks over the paint. They would throw eggs at the glass and once they set a bin fire directly below his flat, but still the police did nothing.

One night, Richard returned home to find a neighbour blocking his apartment door and demanding money. He was stoned, would not move, and Richard had to go and sleep at his mum’s house that night. Once again, the police did nothing.

In light of the findings, Dimensions has urged that more must be done to ensure that people with learning disabilities and autism get better support from police, prosecutors and the wider community.

Steve Scown, chief executive of the charity, said: “We’ve known for a long time that hate crime is a problem for people with learning disabilities and autism. This research finally proves that this group is targeted far more than any other.

“It’s time to tackle this head on and make sure people with learning disabilities and autism get the right support from police, prosecutors and the wider community.

“Now we know the shocking national prevalence, police forces across the country must examine local patterns of hate crime committed against people with learning disabilities and autism.”

Dimensions is calling for disaggregated data recording, and has launched a campaign called #ImWithSam, which will work with the government and others to tackle learning disability and autism hate crime.

Original Source – May Bulbam, The Independent – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/autism-disability-hate-crime-figures-most-likely-a7725006.html

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