HL Deb 08 September 2003 vol 652 cc29-31WA
Lord Avebury

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What statistics are maintained by police forces in England and Wales of criminal offences motivated by racial or religious hatred and homophobia; and whether convictions for offences aggravated by any of these factors are separately recorded for publication in national statistics; and [HL3976]

How many offences were (a) reported to police forces in England and Wales; and (b) prosecuted in 2002 for incitement to commit offences against persons identified by their sexual orientation. [HL3977]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal

Police forces in England and Wales are currently required to forward recorded crime statistics to the Home Office for the following offences where they are racially or religiously aggravated:

  • less serious wounding;
  • harassment;
  • common assault;
  • criminal damage to a dwelling;
  • criminal damage to a building other than a dwelling;
  • criminal damage to a vehicle;
  • other criminal damage.

Recorded crime figures submitted to the Home Office by police forces do not separately identify crimes motivated by homophobia. This is because, unlike racially or religiously aggravated offences, homophobic crime is not a distinct offence in law, and is instead included within the figures for other offences according to the nature of the action.

Statistics of persons proceeded against for offences of racially aggravated offences separately identify the following:

  • wounding or inflicting grevous bodily harm;
  • actual bodily harm:
  • common assault;
  • intentional harassment, alarm or distress;
  • the offence of harassment:
  • putting people in fear of violence;
  • other criminal damage.

The figures are published as a group in Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System (a Home Office publication under Section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991), and are available individually on demand.

The same offences, but when religiously aggravated, or when both racially and religiously aggravated, have been collected since January 2002, but offences aggravated by homophobia are not collected separately, for the reason given above.

The numbers of crimes reported to police forces for incitement to commit offences against persons identified by their sexual orientation are not collected centrally. The statistics collected centrally on persons proceeded against do not enable such offences to be separately identified either.