Police and CPS launch initiative to tackle disability hate crime
POLICE and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) are at the centre of an initiative aimed at increasing successful prosecutions relating to disability hate crime. At a conference today (Monday) police and the CPS will announce that they will be joining forc
POLICE and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) are at the centre of an initiative aimed at increasing successful prosecutions relating to disability hate crime.
At a conference today (Monday) police and the CPS will announce that they will be joining forces with organisations which provide services to people with disabilities, in order to improve the support and service provided to victims of disability hate crime.
A 54-year-old from Stevenage, who wished to remain anonymous, is a consultant on mental health issues and will be speaking at the conference in Hatfield. He said: "Sixteen years ago I was attacked myself because I was suffering from mental health issues.
"I ended up being arrested rather than protected by the criminal justice system.
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"It's encouraging to see the CPS and police proactively working together with organisations who support people with disabilities, and that they are recognising the vast amount of work that needs to be done to empower victims of disability hate crime to take action."
The conference is the start of a programme of work the CPS will undertake to learn from people living with disabilities about their experiences of hate crime. The ultimate aim is to improve the support and service provided and to see more successful prosecutions of disability hate crime.
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Inspector Ian Tycer, Hertfordshire Constabulary's hate crime champion, said: "Any crime, including abuse and harassment, motivated by hostility towards someone with a disability is actually a disability hate crime. Identifying a crime as a disability hate crime can result in a greater penalty at court."
Conference speaker, David Chrimes, is a local barrister employed by the CPS, who is himself disabled. He said: "The CPS is ready and primed to prosecute cases of disability hate crime.
"To those who torment and abuse vulnerable people, we want you to be aware that we will take these cases seriously and sentences will be tougher."
Self reporting hate crime forms can be found on Herts Police's website www.herts.police.uk under the 'Report a Crime' section.