Courts giving tougher sentences for hate crime, says CPS report

Figures show that in more than 6,300 cases, the sentence imposed was increased


Criminal cases involving antisemitism and other forms of hatred have seen a dramatic increase in courts passing tougher sentences, the Crown Prosecution Service has revealed.

Figures released today show that in more than 6,300 cases where there was hostility based on race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender issues, the sentence imposed was increased.

One such high-profile case was the conviction of John Nimmo, who was jailed for two years in February for sending antisemitic messages to Jewish MP Luciana Berger and Islamophobic threats to a mosque. For each of the charges he was convicted of, his sentence was increased by 50 per cent.

The statistics revealed by the CPS in a report on hate crime are from 2016-17 and show increased sentences were passed in 52.2 per cent of cases, up from 33.8 per cent in the previous 12-month period.

The CPS cited its work with the Community Security Trust, as well as the Tell Mama Muslim charity, and praised the “significant insight” from the Jewish charity.

Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, said: “Crimes motivated by hate have a corrosive effect on society and it is pleasing to see the courts are using their powers to increase sentences in the majority of cases for the first time.

“Sentence uplifts are important because they demonstrate that the CPS has built the case effectively, the hate crime element has been recognised and the perpetrator has received a more severe sentence as a result.”

She said police and prosecutors would work with courts with an aim to increase such sentences further by 2020.

“The significant increase in uplifts since 2007 reflects the hard work of the CPS and police to present these cases in court and we aim to increase the proportion even further by 2020.”

While it is not possible to say exactly how many antisemitic crimes resulted in an increased sentence for the perpetrator, a number of high-profile cases of Jew-hatred were referred to by the CPS.

The figures showed a general rise in hate crimes of almost 30 per cent last year, with more than 80,000 offences nationally. Diane Abbott, Labour's Shadow Home Secretary, said the increase was "unacceptable". 

The report also revealed a drop in the number of hate crime prosecutions last year. Such cases fell from 15,422 the previous year to 14,480 in the past 12 months. The CPS said that while there had been an almost 10 per cent decline in hate crime referrals from police in the two years up to 2016, there had been an almost one per cent increase last year.

Jonathan Arkush, Board of Deputies president, said he was “concerned” by those figures, given “all the evidence points to a rise in antisemitic and other hate crimes”.

He added: “The CPS says that there are less referrals from the police, and this needs to be investigated. If it is a question of police attitudes or resourcing, this needs to be urgently addressed.

“History shows us that where low-level abusive and discriminatory behaviours goes unchecked, much worse can follow.

“The government, CPS, police and community groups must look at this to ensure that there is no place for hate in our country."


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