CONVICTIONS for hate crimes in the Thames Valley have risen almost six per cent.
A total of 81.4 per cent of prosecutions were successful in the 12 months to March 31, compared with 75.8 per cent in the previous year, a difference of 5.6 per cent.
The Crown Prosecution Service’s second annual hate crime report shows that 425 people were taken to court, compared with 414 last year.
The majority of prosecutions involved disability, religious or race hate crimes but there were also cases of homophobia and transphobia.
Baljit Ubhey, chief crown prosecutor for the Thames Valley, said: “This shows how seriously we take all types of hate crimes.
“Being targeted because of your race, religion, sexuality or disability is a profoundly isolating experience and one we will prosecute wherever possible.
“People from all communities have a legitimate right to expect protection from the prejudice and discrimination that are at the root of hate crime.”
Ms Ubhey said she was “heartened” by the increase in the number of prosecutions for disability hate crime with 10 this year, compared with just two last year, and a conviction rate of 80 per cent (100 per cent in 2007/8).
She said: “We know that this crime is massively under- reported to the police because people don’t know that they are a victim of crime and do not have confidence that their problems will be taken seriously. We must get better at supporting the specific needs of disabled victims and witnesses to further increase the numbers of those coming forward and receiving justice.”
The report, published last week, shows 389 people were prosecuted for racist or religious crime, three more than last year, 82 per cent of them successfully (75.6 per cent).
Twenty-six people were prosecuted for homophobic or transphobic crimes, the same number as last year, with a conviction rate of 73.1 per cent (76.9 per cent).....ORIGINAL ARTICLE