The Crown Prosecution Service continues to play its part in delivering the cross-Government hate crime action plan. In the last year, 14,480 hate crime prosecutions were completed and the conviction rate was 83.4%.
In thanking my hon. and learned Friend for that answer, may I ask him what steps the CPS is taking to improve prosecution rates for disability hate crimes?
Disability hate crime has long been a concern of mine, and it is very much the poor relation when it comes to these offences. They are difficult to deal with, because very often victims feel that the incident is part of their normal life and that they should suffer in silence. The message must go out clearly that that should not be the case. I am glad that we there has been an increase in prosecutions and an increase in the use of sentencing uplifts, through which judges can increase sentences to reflect aggravating factors such as disability hate.
Tonight, Nottingham Citizens, of which I am a patron, will launch its “Still No Place For Hate” report. It will highlight the fact that almost a third of people surveyed had experienced hate crime related to protected characteristics and that much of that had gone unreported. What assurances can the Attorney General give people in Nottingham that if they do report such crime, it will be prosecuted properly?
I welcome the publication of the report to which the hon. Gentleman refers. I went to Nottingham only a few months ago to visit the east midlands Crown Prosecution Service, and I know that if he works with it—either through me or directly—he will find out more about the actions that it is taking. I assure him that it has a structured plan and takes all strands of hate crime extremely seriously.