A vast majority of hate crimes go unreported with fewer still going to court, according to a disturbing new government survey.
The number of racially or religiously motivated crimes recorded by police in England and Wales has fallen by almost 20 percent in the past three years with less than a fifth of allegations now investigated and only a third of those resulting in a court hearing, the Independent reports.
Based on two years of data the study found that there were an estimated 278,000 hate crimes a year – of which 154,000 had an element of racial motivation.
But official police figures recorded only 42,236 hate crime offences in the past year and just 30,000 racially aggravated crimes – 15 per cent of the total reported in the Crime Survey compiled by the Home Office.
Activists say that this is in part due to pressure felt by police forces to keep in check the number of reported hate crimes.
Fiyaz Mughal, founder of the victims helpline ‘Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks’ (MAMA), told the Independent: “There is pressure on the police not to look for these crimes. Who would want to be a chief constable or police and crime commissioner reporting increased rates of racially aggravated crime? All they want to do is reduce crime levels.”
Whilst discrepancies between actual and reported crimes exists in all categories, the disparity in relation to hate crimes is stark, according to the report, despite the possibility that some crimes are seen as racially motivated by the victim but not the police.
Race charities said the discrepancy was also due to ethnic minority groups not having confidence in the criminal justice system and not reporting race hate crimes in the first place.
Andrew Bolland, from the charity Stop Hate told the Independent: “What these figures show is that people are just less likely to go to police and report crime than they were. A lot of people lack the confidence that they are going to get a successful outcome from the criminal justice system and that does effect reporting.”
Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris, the national policing lead for hate crime, admitted that under-reporting of hate crime was a real problem.
“Under-reporting is still one of biggest challenges that the police and the criminal justice system face in reducing the harm caused by these type of crimes. We are committed to increasing the reporting and recording of hate crime.”