[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 4 December 2006, 12:39 GMT
Race crime charges 'rise by 28%'
Scene of bus explosion
There had been fears of a rise in crime after the London bombings
The number of people charged by police with racially aggravated offences rose by 28% last year, figures have shown.

Out of a total of 7,430 cases, 6,123 defendants were taken to court between April 2005 and April 2006, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

Statistics also showed 43 people were charged with religiously-aggravated offences, a rise of almost 27%.

Ken Macdonald QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, said fears of a backlash after the London bombs were unfounded.

He said: "After the 7 July bombings it was feared that there would be a significant backlash against the Muslim community and that we would see a large rise in religiously-aggravated offences.

"The fears of a large rise in offences appear to be unfounded."

These crimes don't just affect individual victims and their families but whole communities
Ken Macdonald QC

He said although there were more cases in July 2005 than for any other month, the rise did not continue into August.

There were 12 cases in July after the bombings, and in half the defendants referred specifically to the London bombings, he added.

One prosecution involved a man from South Yorkshire throwing a brick through his Muslim neighbour's window and blaming Muslims for the bombings on the day they went off.

He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine months in prison for religiously-aggravated public order and criminal damage.

Muslim waiter

In another case, a man was given a six-month sentence for religiously aggravated common assault after he physically and verbally assaulted a Muslim waiter in an Indian restaurant.

The figures showed that the actual or perceived religion of the victim was known in 22 out of 43 religiously-motivated offences.

Of those, 18 were identified as Muslim, three as Christian and one as Sikh.

In race offences, the number of defendants pleading guilty rose by 2% to 71%. Overall 87% of race cases resulted in a conviction, while for religiously-aggravated charges, 98% of defendants were convicted.

Mr Macdonald said: "Racist and religiously-aggravated crimes are particularly nasty because victims are targeted solely because of their identity or beliefs.

"These crimes don't just affect individual victims and their families but whole communities."

He said since January of this year, the CPS has held a series of evenings with Muslim communities across the country, offering reassurance and information.

Q&A: Religious hatred law
07 Jul 04 |  UK

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific