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Racial Harassment

Volume 171: debated on Tuesday 1 May 1990

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To ask the Attorney-General if he will state (a) the proportion of alleged crimes referred to the Crown prosecution service involving racial harassment in each year since its creation,(b) how many were proceeded with and (c) how many resulted in convictions.

The Crown prosecution service does not maintain statistics regarding cases involving racial harassment and accordingly the information requested can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Attorney-General how much information is passed to victims of racial harassment by the Crown prosecution service in cases where it does not decide to proceed.

Home Office circular 20/1988 stressed the importance of sympathetic treatment of victims and keeping them informed of the progress and outcome of investigations. This guidance is applicable to all categories of crime including those involving racial harassment. It has recently been reinforced by the promulgation of a victim's charter.Under the working arrangements between the police service and the Crown prosecution service, it is the police who are the point of contact with the victims. The Crown prosecution service supports the principles of the victim's charter and recognises the importance to the victim of understanding what reasons have operated where a case is discontinued or a plea of guilty to a lesser offence than that charged is accepted. It is the policy of the Crown prosecution service that its staff should, so far as practicable, consult the police on taking such decisions. This should ensure proper understanding themselves and that they are in a position to explain the outcome of proceedings to the victims.