Successful first year for GMPs initiative to tackle hate crime
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A pilot strategy rolled out by GMPs Bolton division to improve conviction rates and public confidence in reporting hate crime has been a success.
Recent figures show a 147% increase in the number of case referrals officers have made to the Crown Prosecution Service since the initiative began in March 2020.
Chief Inspector Mike Russell, of GMPs Bolton division, said: "We realised that something had to change in the way that we dealt with hate crime reports, as well as the level of service that victims receive from us and I've been really pleased with the results and positive feedback that we've received so far, especially as our initial target was to increase case referrals by 50%, so to get that to well over 100% shows that the changes we've implemented are really working.
"Hate crime can be devastating for victims, especially those who become targets for repeat offenders and we want to do all that we can to support these victims.
"We now have a dedicated officer whose main role is to make contact with every victim who reports hate crime to us, to make sure that they are fully supported, receive updates on the investigation into their report and receive information on the victim services scheme that we promote to all victims of crime."
"Our main aim for this pilot was to strengthen the evidence that we present to the CPS, in an attempt to ultimately increase the number of investigations that make it to court, which will hopefully see a higher number of offenders being prosecuted.
"We have been working in partnership with the CPS to understand what steps we need to take to further improve our success rates in getting justice for victims.
"As part of the initiative, we have established and are increasing the number of hate crime reporting centres in various locations around Bolton, including places of worship, cafes and community centres, to try and reach those who may not feel comfortable in contacting police through the usual reporting methods. We have found this to be an effective way of reaching those people in our communities who are not sure how to go about reporting incidents of hate crime to us."
District Crown Prosecutor Lauren Costello, who oversees the Bolton Hate Crime Initiative for the North West Crown Prosecution Service said:
“We have a dedicated specialist Hate Crime Senior Crown Prosecutor who works in collaboration with Greater Manchester Police officers, to provide early pre-charge advice on all hate crime reports in Bolton.
“The police and CPS meet twice weekly to discuss any new cases referred that week and to progress any ongoing live cases in order to build the strongest possible evidence. No cases are closed until the Senior Crown Prosecutor is satisfied that all reasonable lines of enquiry have been followed up.
“We are delighted with the success of this partnership initiative, which has driven up the number of offenders being brought to justice.”
“Our joint aim is to tackle the insidious nature of hate crime whilst recognising the devastating impact it has on individuals and communities when people are mistreated for no other reason than who they are.”
If you've been a victim or a witness of hate crime, report it to Greater Manchester Police on '101' or visit www.gmvictims.org.uk to report or receive help and support. If it’s an emergency and you are in immediate danger, always dial 999.”