The Crown Prosecution Service is to examine the way in which hate crimes are dealt with.
CPS Direct, the department responsible for charging suspects out of hours, has initiated a Hate Crime Scrutiny.
It will review how CPS Direct advises the police on domestic violence, disability, homophobic, racist and religiously aggravated crime.
The panel will also look at crimes which target the elderly and those where children are involved as either victims or witnesses.
Martin Goldman, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS Direct said:
“Hate crimes are particularly nasty because victims are targeted solely because of their vulnerability, identity or beliefs.
“Through the Hate Crime Scrutiny Panel we are seeking to raise confidence among these communities in the quality of our decisions.
“By raising awareness and promoting understanding of how CPS Direct works, and by building greater confidence in the way we handle hate crime, we hope that more people will come forward and report such crime, and be willing to act as witnesses and jurors.”
The panel’s membership includes independent representatives from Voice UK, Liverpool City Council, University of Northumbria, Action on Elder Abuse, Stop It Now! and the Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs).
With a CPS Direct facilitator they review examples of hate crimes where the initial charging advice was given by CPS Direct lawyers in order to identify strengths, weaknesses or trends in the decision making.
Examples of good practice and any learning points will be shared with CPS Direct lawyers.
The panel’s aim is to increase understanding of how the decision making process can be improved from a community perspective and, ultimately, contribute to a reduction in the number of unsuccessful outcomes for cases of hate crime.