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Number of hate crimes leading to charge down compared to last year

Data on outcomes for all hate crime offences was available for 26 forces while all forces provided figures for racially or religiously aggravated offences.

The number of recorded hate crimes resulting in a charge or summons has gone down over the last year, according to a report from the Home Office.

According to its annual report on hate crime in England and Wales, 155,841 such offences were recorded in the year to March - a 26% jump from 2020/21, and the biggest annual increase since 2017.

While reporting increases were seen in the five centrally monitored strands of hate crime - race or ethnicity, religion or beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, and transgender identity - the number of offences dealt with by way of charge or summons was down.

According to analysis of figures submitted by 26 forces to the Home Office, this was the outcome for 9% of all hate crimes recorded to March 2022 - down slightly from the 10% seen the year before. 

Seven per cent of violence against the person offences, flagged as hate crimes, were dealt with by a charge or summons, as were 5% of criminal damage and arson hate crime flagged offences.

One in 10 public order offences flagged as hate crimes were dealt with by a charge or summons.

Data on racially or religiously aggravated offences, available for all police forces, shows that a charge or summons was the outcome in 8% of such offences recorded to March. This is down from 12% in the previous year.

The Home Office said that evidence suggests a greater proportion of recorded crimes in recent years were for types of offence “which can be more challenging to investigate”. 

In 30% of violent hate crime offences the report cited “evidential difficulties as the victim does not support action”.

In terms of the overall increase in the number of hate crimes reported, the report suggested that this could be influenced by factors beyond a "genuine rise".

Transgender hate crime increased by 56% from 2,799 in 2020/21 to 4,355 to March this year, an increase the Home Office said may be linked to the fact that "transgender issues have been heavily discussed on social media over the last year".

In July the College of Policing overhauled its hate crime investigation guidance, following a dispute with a former detective over allegedly "transphobic" comments posted online. 

CoP CEO Andy Marsh, said the updated guidance puts in place new safeguards to ensure people are able to engage in lawful debate without police interference. 

But the College also highlighted that officers cannot discount low-level incidents as these can be the start of a build up to a serious offence.

Mr Marsh advised: “The police regularly deal with complex incidents on social media. Our guidance is there to support officers responding to these incidents in accordance with the law, and not get involved in debates on Twitter.” 

In terms of the other monitored strands, religious hate crime rose by 37% in the year to March, while those based on sexual orientation increased by 41%. Disability hate crime was up by 43% compared to 2020/21.

The Lead for Equality, Diversity and Human Rights at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, Alison Lowe OBE, said: “Diversity is something that should be celebrated, and we must send a clear message to those who target people for who they are that their behaviour and actions will not be tolerated.

“Whilst a proportion of this increase may be down to better recording of hate crime or due to increased confidence in reporting, we cannot use this as a get out clause for not addressing these stark figures and taking action.

"As national lead I will be taking this issue forward with partners so that we can ensure victims have confidence in the system."

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