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The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

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CPS publishes new public statements on hate crime

21/08/2017

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has today (21 August) published new public statements on how it will prosecute hate crime and support victims in England and Wales.

Amid rising volumes of reports to police, the CPS consulted community groups and criminal justice partners to produce these revised statements, covering the different strands of hate crime: racist and religious; disability; and homophobic, biphobic and transphobic.

In addition to the public statements, the CPS has also today published revised legal guidance that sets out how prosecutors should make charging decisions and handle these cases in court.

Key points contained within the documents include:

In recognition of the growth of hate crime perpetrated using social media, a commitment to treat online crime as seriously as offline offences, while taking into account the potential impact on the wider community as well as the victim.

For the first time, CPS policy will acknowledge that victims of biphobic hate crime have different experiences and needs to victims of homophobic and transphobic offences.

The CPS recognises it has a responsibility to actively remove barriers to justice for disabled victims and witnesses, ensuring they get the right support to enable them to give their best evidence.

The CPS is marking the publication of the documents with the launch of a social media campaign - #HateCrimeMatters - to encourage people to come forward and report hate crime incidents.

It is also publishing an online support guide specifically for disabled victims and witnesses of crime.

Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: "Hate crime has a corrosive effect on our society and that is why it is a priority area for the CPS. It can affect entire communities, forcing people to change their way of life and live in fear.

"These documents take account of the current breadth and context of offending to provide prosecutors with the best possible chance of achieving justice for victims. They also let victims and witnesses know what they should expect from us.

"I hope that, along with this week's campaign, they will give people the confidence to come forward and report hate crime, in the knowledge that they will be taken seriously and given the support they need."

A hate crime is an offence where the perpetrator is motivated by hostility or shows hostility towards the victim's disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. You can find links to the CPS public statements on Hate Crime and the updated legal guidance on our new Hate Crime home page
  2. In 2015/16 the CPS completed 15,442 hate crime prosecutions, the highest number ever
  3. Hate crime sentence uplifts increased from 11.8% in 2014/15 to 33.8% in 2015/16, the highest proportion recorded to date
  4. The conviction rate across all strands of hate crime increased from 82.9% in 2014/15 to 83.2% in 2015/16
  5. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk on Twitter and visit our official News Brief - blog.cps.gov.uk
  6. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233