Hate crime falls in Hertfordshire - despite a surge in homophobic hate crime

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The number of people convicted for homophobic and transphobic crime in Hertfordshire almost doubled over the last 12 months.

There were 19 successful prosecutions by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in 2015-16, up from 11 the previous year.

Overall however the CPS took fewer people to court for hate crimes in Herts, falling from 277 in 2014-15 to 269 in 2015-16.

And the percentage of successful prosecutions also fell in this county, from 86.3 per cent to 82.2 per cent.

But of these figures were contrary to the national average, where the number of people prosecuted, and the percentage of convictions, both rose.

And the prosecution rate for disability hostility crime was also one of the lowest in the country, with just five out of nine cases ending in a conviction.

Joanna Coleman, deputy chief crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern CPS and hate crime lead, said: “We remain committed to prosecuting hate crimes robustly and in accordance with the national CPS approach and policy.

“Our volume of hate crime prosecutions has increased from 946 in 2014-15 to 1,001 in 2015-16, which we hope shows a better understanding of what a hate crime is and more confidence in victims coming forward. Our conviction rate for the last two years has remained stable at 82.1 per cent, which equated to 822 convictions in 2015-16 compared to 777 in 2014-15.

“These figures do not include the crimes against older people, which are included in the report as stand-alone statistics.”

She added: “Our local scrutiny involvement panel (LSIP) members continue to work with us to improve the quality and consistency of our hate crime casework practice.

“Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Thames Valley Police are all represented on our LSIP and ensure that key issues, learning and actions are taken back to their respective police forces to address the concerns that community representatives raise on our panel.

“We are aware that many hate crimes remain unreported and have been working with the police, the voluntary sector and local authority partners to raise awareness about the routes that are available for local people to report these crimes.”