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Police and prosecutors still failing disabled people on hate crime

12 October 2018

Joint Inspection of the Handling of Cases Involving Disability Hate Crime.

View report

New report published by Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

The report reviews the progress following the findings of two earlier reports, published in 2013 and 2015, in relation to cases involving disability hate crime.

It finds that there have been improvements in handling cases by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) but more needs to be done by prosecutors and police.

The CPS has been successful in publicising sentencing ‘uplifts’ which can be applied where disability hate crime is involved. This was applied in 68.6% of cases where an application was made and performance continues to improve.

More than half of the police files examined were assessed as requiring improvement or as inadequate. These included:

  • The investigation of disability hate crime cases.
  • Inappropriate used out-of-court disposals – the person committing the hate crime may be let off with a caution if they admit guilt
  • Victim risk assessments/risk management plans in about half of the cases sampled. However, the police performed well on compliance with the Victims’ Code of practice as well as in referral to victim support services.

Prosecutors:

  • differed in interpreting the disability hate crime definition and when it should be used even though the CPS legal guidance on disability hate crimes is clear.
  • were failing to consider sufficiently the needs of the victims, particularly about whether they needed reasonable adjustments to give evidence effectively.
  • need to be better at considering this important aspect of victim