Police detect fewer than half of race-hate criminals in their area

Simon Bristow

FEWER than half the people who commit racially or religiously aggravated crimes in the Humberside Police area are being brought to justice, in spite of the launch of a new initiative three months ago.

Sanction detection rates for these offences – where someone is charged, summonsed, receives a caution or other formal sanction – are at 46.4 per cent, latest figures show.

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The statistics, which cover sanction detection rates between April and August, show a fall of nearly eight per cent on the same period last year, when the force achieved 54.1 per cent.

They also mean the force is failing to meet its target of 49.3 per cent. In spite of the findings, Humberside is still out-performing its group of seven similar forces in England and Wales when it comes to tackling racially and religiously aggravated crime.

The force launched a campaign in June pledging to crackdown on hate crime and encouraging more victims to report offences.

A spokeswoman said: “There have been some slight changes to the recording of racially and religiously recorded offences and now some lower level harassment offences are counted – these being by their very nature more difficult to detect. Furthermore, the detection rate was exceptionally high last year, which means it was always going to be difficult to maintain that level.

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“It should be pointed out that almost half of the offences are detected and when compared to other most similar forces, Humberside has still got the best detection rate for racially and aggravated crime.”

The worst performing area was C Division in the East Riding, which saw a fall of more than 20 per cent to a rate of 29.6 per cent.

In North East Lincolnshire (A Division), there was a fall of more than 14 per cent to 28.6 per cent, while in North Lincolnshire (B Division) the rate fell 6.4 per cent to 28.6 per cent.

Police in Hull (D Division) bucked the trend, however, and succeeded in seeing nearly three-quarters of those who committed these types of offences brought to justice.

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Sanction detection rates for racially or religiously aggravated crime in the city rose more than 10 per cent, to a rate of 73.6 per cent – a performance way above the division’s target of 61.7 per cent.

The figures show that sanction detection rates for the majority of serious acquisitive crimes also fell and are below target.

The biggest fall, of more than 11 per cent, concerned vehicle theft, and rates also fell by between three and five per cent for domestic burglary and theft from a vehicle, although the rates for robbery improved by nearly nine per cent.

Gun crime shot up by nearly 52 per cent over the period, with 41 recorded gun crimes between April and August this year, compared with 27 over the same period in 2009.

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Gun crime was most prevalent in Hull, where there were 16 recorded offences, followed by the East Riding (10), North East Lincolnshire (8), and North Lincolnshire (7).

In spite of the statistical rise, Humberside does not suffer from the type of gun crimes associated with other parts of Britain.

The spokeswoman said: “The area covered by Humber- side Police does not have a large scale problem with gun crime and thankfully incidents involving live firearms are rare in the area.

“A large proportion of those offences recorded as gun crimes involve imitation weapons and their use in public places.”

The figures are contained in a report by Chief Constable Tim Hollis, which will go before force watchdog the Humberside Police Authority on Tuesday.