The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has published its annual statistical bulletin: ‘Cases Involving Hate Crime 2022/23’.
The bulletin is set out in two parts, reflecting the two distinct definitions applied in cases involving hate crime, as recorded by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the PPS. In Part One key statistics are presented in relation to cases involving hate crime submitted to the PPS by the PSNI, while in Part Two key statistics are presented in relation to cases considered by a Prosecutor to have involved hate crime which was ‘aggravated by hostility’.
The key findings include:
Part One: Cases Involving Hate Crime Submitted by the PSNI
- During the 2022/23 financial year, the PPS received 419 files involving hate crime. This was an increase of 75 on 2021/22 (344).
- Of the 419 files received in 2022/23, 153 (36.5%) related to racial crimes, with a further 113 files (27.0%) relating to sectarian crimes.
- The majority of files received fell into the category ‘violence against the person’ (66.1%). The number of cases involving violent offences increased by 17.4%, from 236 in 2021/22 to 277 in 2022/23.
- Prosecutorial decisions were issued in respect of 473 persons, an increase of 9.2% on 2021/22 (433).
- Twenty-two of the twenty-five defendants dealt with in the Crown Court were convicted of at least one offence, while the conviction rate in the Magistrates' and Youth Courts was 68.3%.
Part Two: Cases Considered by a PPS Prosecutor to have Involved Hate Crime which was ‘Aggravated by Hostility’
- The PPS issued 296 prosecutorial decisions in 2022/23, nearly four-fifths (79.1%) of which were for prosecution (202) or diversion from the courts (32). This compared with the 299 prosecutorial decisions taken in 2021/22, of which 76.9% were for prosecution (207) or diversion from the courts (23).
- The majority of the 296 decisions in 2022/23 related to offences which were either aggravated on the basis of race (119) or religion (88). Sixty-five decisions related to offences aggravated on the basis of sexual orientation. The remaining decisions related to offences aggravated on the basis of disability or multiple motivations.
- Twenty-four of the thirty-one defendants dealt with in the Crown Court in 2022/23 were convicted of at least one offence. Just under three-quarters (72.0%) of those dealt with in the Magistrates’ and Youth Courts were convicted, more than 2021/22 (68.2%).
- Of the total of 176 defendants convicted during 2022/23, 40 were recorded as having received an enhanced sentence due to the aggravating feature of their offence(s).