Criminal Justice System continues to fail disabled victims
A follow up review into how the police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the probation service deal with disability hate crime reports that all three organisations have failed to comply and act on recommendations made in a previous report from March 2013.
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That report, “Living in a different world: A joint review of Disability Hate Crime” made seven recommendations for police, CPS and probation trusts to implement within a specific timescale. These included the need for a single and clear definition of disability hate crime and the requirement for police to ensure every opportunity is taken to identify victims. Police, prosecutors and probation officers were also recommended to undertake training around disability hate crime to improve their investigative, tribunal and rehabilitation skills.
The recommendations were designed to improve performance and embed good working practices, acknowledging that disability hate crime should be treated the same as other hate crimes such as race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender.
Although this follow up report has identified some examples of good practice relating to awareness-raising at a national level, neither the police nor the CPS has succeeded in significantly improving performance at an operational level.
The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has provided direction by issuing guidance to probation trusts, in July 2013, in the form of a framework to frontline staff. However today’s report has found that disability hate crime is not dealt with effectively overall by the probation service.
HMCPSI Chief Inspector Kevin McGinty said:
“The report’s conclusions show that although the three criminal justice agencies have undertaken some initiatives to improve the way they deal with disability hate crime, the overall performance, acknowledged by all agencies, is still disappointing.
“The police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the probation service recognise that further work needs to be carried out to ensure disability hate crime victims are recognised and given the appropriate level of support and service by the criminal justice system.”
HMIC Inspector Dru Sharpling said:
“There has been work nationally to drive up reporting levels of disability hate crime and improve standards of service to victims but progress continues to depend on how well this is implemented locally. We did find some good practice, but criminal justice agencies did not consistently recognise disability hate crime and respond effectively.”
HMIP Chief Inspector Paul Wilson said:
“We were pleased to see that the quality of information supplied by the CPS to probation officers writing court reports was good. This means that the nature of the hate crime can be taken into account by sentencers.
“Despite this, work with the small numbers of perpetrators of disability hate crime had not improved since the original inspection.”
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- Today’s publication is by HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI), HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and HM Inspectorate of Probation. This report was completed under the previous Chief Inspector of HMCPSI, Michael Fuller and the previous Chief Inspector of Probation, Paul McDowell. Publication was delayed due to the pre-election pending period.