A joint inspection of the police, probation and Crown Prosecution Service has uncovered a lack of understanding of what classifies as a disability hate crime and confusion around how this type of offence should be recorded and investigated.
The new report recommends that all agencies must do more to ensure that disability hate crime is treated on an equal footing with other hate crimes, and that victims have the confidence to report crimes.
Living in a different world: A joint review of disability hate crime details the findings of a joint inspection by HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, HMIC and HM Inspectorate of Probation. Inspectors wanted to find out how the police, CPS and probation trusts deal with crimes against disabled people. This involved reviewing how the three agencies work and revealed problems in the detection and recording of crimes targeted against people because of their disability.
The inspection found a lack of clarity and understanding as to what constitutes disability hate crime and confusion between policy definitions and the statutory sentencing provision. The report recommends a common definition that is universally recognised and applied at ‘ground level’ that is simple to interpret.
The immediate priority should be to encourage more people to come forward to report disability hate crime. The under reporting of disability hate crime remains a significant concern and needs to be addressed. Whilst community engagement projects are currently undertaken by the police and CPS, these need to be jointly co-ordinated, and have specific aims.
Chief Inspector of HM Crown Prosecution Service, Michael Fuller QPM, said on behalf of all the inspectorates: “This report finds that in many ways Disability Hate Crime is the hate crime that has been overlooked. The criminal justice system must therefore change to provide an improved service for those with disabilities.”
To download the report click here.