There were 1,942 recorded incidents of disability hate crime in England and Wales in 2011, an increase of more than 25% on the total for 2010 and the highest since this data was first recorded in April 2010.
Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows the number of recorded incidents grew by 60% between 2009 and 2011.
While almost 2,000 reports were made to the police last year, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) made just 523 convictions for disability hate crime over the same period.
169 crimes were reported in Hertfordshire, more than in any other police force area in 2011. Suffolk had the second largest total, 152. South Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire had the lowest, with seven reports each.
Hertfordshire’s total marked a seven-fold increase on the previous year, when just 24 disability hate crimes were reported. While South Wales accounted for the tenth highest number of reports in 2011, this represented a 32% drop from 2010.
Figures published by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) show a rapid increase in the number of reported disability hate crimes since records began. In 2009 – the first full calendar year for which such data exists – 1,211 crimes were reported.
This figure rose by 24.8% in 2010, and a further 28.4% the following year. It is unclear whether these rises are caused primarily by an increase in the number of disability hate crimes that are committed, or higher rates or their reporting.
The number of convictions made in 2011 is equivalent to 26.9% of reported incidents in the same year, but due to the length of time required for a prosecution to run its course this figure should not be read as a direct proportion of the total number of crimes reported in 2011.
The data table below includes a number of police force areas whose total numbers of prosecutions are greater than the numbers of incidents reported. These cases typically arise where crimes reported in previous years have been concluded in 2011.
While the total number of reported incidents rose substantially between 2010 and 2011, the proportion of prosecutions ending in conviction simultaneously increased according to the latest figures from the CPS.
In 2009/10 three out of four disability hate crime cases taken on by the CPS were successful. In 2010/11 this figure rose to almost four out of five.
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