CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

HOME OFFICE – SUBJECTIVITY IN CRIMINAL OFFENCES [156232] - 19 February 2021

HOME OFFICE – SUBJECTIVITY IN CRIMINAL OFFENCES [156232] - 19 February 2021

Dr Julian Lewis:  To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the definition of hate crime as any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic is compatible with the principles of the (a) objective application of justice, (b) equal treatment under the law and (c) presumption of innocence unless proved guilty; what (i) internal and (ii) cross-departmental assessments have recently been carried out of the operation of (A) legislation and (B) guidelines defining crimes in terms of people’s perceptions; and if she will make a statement.   [156232]

[Due for Answer on 25 February.] 

ANSWER

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Safeguarding (Victoria Atkins): The police and Crown Prosecution Service define and record hate crime as

“any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.”

Part of the purpose of this definition is to encourage victims of hate crime to come forward to report, reflecting the recommendations from the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry. It is the responsibility of the police to investigate allegations of criminal activity and decide whether or not a specific incident should be treated as a hate crime. In 2018 the Government asked the Law Commission to undertake a full review of the coverage and approach of current hate crime legislation. That review is due to conclude this year.