Nearly Half Of Racial And Religious Hate Crime Investigations Closed By West Midlands Police Without Suspect
20 March 2019, 05:56 | Updated: 20 March 2019, 06:24
Police forces in some parts of the country are closing nearly a half of investigations into racially and religiously-aggravated offences without identifying a suspect, new analysis shows.
In the 12 months to September 2018, 44% of such offences recorded by West Midlands Police were shut with no suspect in the frame.
Other forces closed around a third, including British Transport Police (37%), Northumbria (33%) and Sussex (31%).
The offences, all of which are defined as hate crimes, include racially or religiously aggravated assault, harassment and criminal damage.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission described the figures as "disappointing", adding that victims of these offences often don't report what has happened to them "as they feel that the police won't take the incident seriously or have the power to act".
Independent charity Victim Support warned the figures could undermine public confidence in the ability of the justice system to report hate crime.
Chief Inspector Tony Morriss from West Midlands Police said: "We take all reports of hate crime extremely seriously, as such behaviour is completely unacceptable within our many diverse and multi-cultural communities.
"It has historically been an under-reported crime and it is encouraging more victims are willing to come forward and confide in our officers. We are determined to bring offenders to justice and follow all active lines of inquiry to trace suspects.
"On occasions where there are no witnesses or CCTV, such as vandalism, it may not be possible to identify any suspects. But reporting such crimes helps with our intelligence gathering and can identify any patterns or links between crimes. This can help us to do more to tackle hate crime in the future."