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Hate-crime cases failing in court, says CPS

Increasing numbers of hate-crime prosecutions are collapsing because victims are backing out or their stories unravel in court, a new report from the Crown Prosecution Service reveals today.

Almost one in four failed hate-crime prosecutions now collapses because the victim drops the allegations, unexpectedly fails to attend court or their evidence fails to support the case – up from 19.9 per cent the previous year, the CPS's fifth annual report into hate crimes found.

The report also found that hate-crime convictions dropped by more than six per cent from 12,651 in 2010-11 to 11,843 this year. The number of cases which led to charges or CPS referrals to police also fell.

This was driven by declines in disability, homophobic, transphobic and race offences, although the number of hate crimes against older people has nearly doubled since the figures were first recorded in 2008-09 from 1,494 to 2,987 this year. Religiously aggravated crimes also rose to 593 this year up from 566 the previous year.

Dale Simon, director of equality and diversity at the CPS, said: "The Association of Chief Police Officers has already identified that there is an issue with the under-reporting of hate crimes. So the fact that the numbers have fallen off is of concern.

"We do not think that it is simply a case that these offences are less of a problem."