Race vic­tims ‘don’t want to go to court’

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY LEON SY­MONS

MANY AN­TISEMITIC crimes re­ported to po­lice are go­ing un­pun­ished be­cause vic­tims do not want to go to court.

Oth­ers are not even thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gated be­cause cul­prits can­not be iden­ti­fied, ac­cord­ing to a Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice re­port pub­lished this week.

The CPS also ad­mit­ted that in­ter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions dif­fi­cul­ties had led to a num­ber of cases be­ing pur­sued in er­ror.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion was re­spond­ing to the all-party par­lia­men­tary in­quiry into an­tisemitism, whose re­port was pub­lished in 2006. The MPs who wrote the re­port asked the CPS to look into why there were so few prose­cu­tions and to re­view cases of in­cite­ment to racial ha­tred to see how pros­e­cu­tion could be im­proved.

John Mann MP, chair of the all-party An­tisemitism Group, sat along­side CPS se­nior per­son­nel at a press con­fer­ence when their re­port was pub­lished on Tues­day. He praised the CPS re­sponse as “hon­est, metic­u­lous in its de­tail” and “a work in progress”.

In an­swer to a ques­tion about in­ter­net crime, Jonathan Bushell, spokesman on race and re­li­gious crime for the CPS pol­icy unit, said this was the area “where there is the great­est amount of con­cern”.

He said prob­lems arose when ma­te­rial was pub­lished abroad, but not in the ju­ris­dic­tion of the coun­try from which it em­anated, mak­ing pros­ecu- tions legally dif­fi­cult. On the ques­tion of vic­tims with­draw­ing from cases, the ser­vice’s Thames Val­ley chief pros­e­cu­tor Baljit Ub­hey said: “It is of­ten the case that peo­ple don’t want to get in­volved i n the court process. There may be fear of reprisal.

“Peo­ple may also re­port things to other agen­cies. But the re­port makes clear that the CPS can pros­e­cute only mat­ters re­ported to the po­lice.

“We want to im­prove in terms of build­ing vic­tim con­fi­dence so that peo­ple come for­ward to re­port to the po­lice. We also need to make sure we are link­ing with or­gan­i­sa­tions and speak­ing to lo­cal Jewish com­mu­ni­ties to im­prove their con­fi­dence.”

To pre­pare its re­sponse, the CPS ex­am­ined fig­ures for an­tisemitic crime and in­cite­ment to racial ha­tred from the Metropoli­tan Po­lice in Lon­don and the Greater Manch­ester Po­lice, home of the two big­gest Jewish com­mu­ni­ties in the coun­try. It also held a meet­ing a year ago with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of all parts of An­glo-Jewry.

The re­port com­mit­ted the CPS to pro­duc­ing an ac­tion plan for the fu­ture and it pledged to con­tinue di­a­logue with the Jewish com­mu­nity and the Com­mu­nity Se­cu­rity Trust.

Mark Gard­ner, CST di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, wel­comed the re­sponse but high­lighted the prob­lem of vic­tims’ re­luc­tance, say­ing: “This is a key find­ing that sig­ni­fies a lack of con­fi­dence in the le­gal process and fear of ret­ri­bu­tion. It is clear that the is­sue of trust must be sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved and we hope that CPS’s com­mit­ment to en­gage with the com­mu­nity will help to bring this about.”

John Mann MP

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