Hate crime convictions increase by almost 50 per cent in last 12 months

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The number of people convicted for hate crimes increased by almost 50 per cent in Bedfordshire over the last year.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service there were 83 successful prosecutions in 2014-15.

But 12 months later that figure rose to 119.

And Bedfordshire was the sixth most successful police force area in England and Wales for prosecutions.

Across the county there were also sharp rises in the number of convictions for homophobic and transphobic crimes (from two to 11 prosecutions), and for disability hostility (from zero to seven).

And Bedfordshire had the highest conviction rate for crimes against older people, with 93.5 per cent of cases ending in 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.”