The Minister of State for Crime Prevention (Norman Baker):
Today we are publishing our progress report on the coalition government’s hate crime action plan. A copy will be placed in the House Library. Hate crime can have devastating consequences for victims and their families, and can also divide communities.
In March 2012, we published Challenge it, Report it, Stop it, the government’s plan to tackle hate crime, which brought together action by a range of departments and agencies under three core principles: to prevent hate crime; to increase reporting and access to support; and to improve the operational response to hate crimes.
The government committed to review the plan, to assess progress in delivering those actions and to ensure it addressed new and emerging issues. Today’s report provides an overview of our achievements since the plan was published and also highlights areas that have emerged or have continued to evolve, and what we will do to tackle those issues for the remainder of this Parliament.
We have made good progress in delivering our commitments to tackle hate crime and now have a better understanding of the types of hate crimes that are committed and where those crimes are happening. We have provided direct support to frontline professionals to help build victims’ confidence to come forward, and the police have improved the way they record hate crimes. We now have a strengthened legal framework which is already regarded as one of the most robust in the world in protecting people from hatred and bigotry.
However, findings from the Crime Survey for 2011-12 and 2012-13 highlight that hate crime is still significantly under-reported, with estimates of around 278,000 incidents each year, compared to the 42, 236 hate crimes that were recorded by police forces in England and Wales in 2012/13.
We are proud of the achievements this government has made so far, but there is still much to do to confront the hatred and hostility that still exists in our society, and to tackle the scale of under-reporting. We will continue to work closely with a wide range of voluntary sector, community representatives and frontline organisations to drive forward work on this agenda.