Prosecutions of race crimes in Britain rise by one-third in a year

A record 4,660 defendants were prosecuted for racially-aggravated offences between March 2004 and March 2005 - up from 3,616 the previous year, a report published today shows. A further 1,128 people accused of race crimes had the case against them dropped, many because witnesses refused to testify or failed to turn up to court. The figures published by the Crown Prosecution Service do not include cases prosecuted since the 7 July attacks in London.

Leaders of Britain's Asian and black communities said the new figures were a source of grave concern. Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, the leader of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain, said it was now clear that the "war on terror" had made British Muslims a target for racists.

"I think that a whole (Muslim) community has been identified as the enemy," he said, "and this is the reason why people think it is a fifth-column community and the cause of this country's miseries. Now they want to settle scores by making us scapegoats."

Sir Iqbal Sacranie, head of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "These are very troubling figures in that they not only indicate that the number of prosecutions has gone up but that more race-hate crime is being committed. What is of added concern is that these figures are before 7 July. After the bomb attacks in London we saw a spate of racist incidents. What will the figures be next year?

"Whatever happens members of Muslim communities must report the offence immediately to the police so that they do not suffer in silence."

The report shows the number of racist incidents passed to prosecutors by police rose 22 per cent to 5,788 year-on-year. Most were assaults, criminal damage or public order offences, but the figures also contained four murders.

The number of cases handed over by police has more than doubled from 2,417 in 1999-2000, the first year after race was made an aggravating factor in crime.

The figures include the youngest person ever to be convicted of a racially aggravated crime. A boy from Kent - who was 13 at the time of the offence - was convicted of racially aggravated criminal damage and assault in 2004. He slashed a black road sweeper across the face with a knife after attacking him with a golf club.

Another disturbing case concerned a man who pleaded guilty to making more than 90 calls to numerous synagogues in north London, threatening to blow them up, and being abusive. It was the largest number of racially motivated offences the CPS ever had to deal with for one person. After psychiatric reports he was sentenced last year to a three-year community rehabilitation order and treatment at a drug and alcohol centre.

The report also showed that the number of religiously-aggravated cases dropped to 34 from 49 the year before. But in 67 per cent of the religious cases, the victim was Muslim.

Among religiously-aggravated offences, the "actual or perceived" religion of the victim was Muslim in 23 out of 34 cases, Christian in four, Hindu in two and Mormon in one. In four cases the religion was unknown.

Sir Iqbal said that while he welcomed a fall in number of religious crime figures he was "very worried" that two-thirds of the victims were Muslim, a marked increase from last year.

Ken Macdonald, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said the CPS had worked hard to give victims confidence that their cases would be treated properly.

"Last year many CPS areas moved to working with the police, giving on-the-spot legal advice and helping to construct trial-ready cases," he said.

"Compared to the last set of figures, 8 per cent fewer racially-aggravated charges were dropped because of insufficient evidence. We have also worked hard to ensure that with our new IT systems that racist crime prosecutions are properly recorded."

But Raj Joshi, vice-chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers, said: "The figures prove that there is a lot of talk of policy initiatives and about sympathy but there is little comfort for the black and minority ethnic community."

Suggested Topics
News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
tv

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
John Moore inspired this Coca Cola Christmas advert
people

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
A Rutherford Raiders shirt with the PornHub sponsorship
football

Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Charlie Sheen could be set to revive his role as a hedonistic womaniser

Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Radcliffe gives a strong performance in Horns
film

Review: Alexandre Aja's film is a Twin Peaks-style mystery

News
Apple CEO Timothy Cook
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film

Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes