NORTH Wales Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is celebrating the first anniversary of its hate crime scrutiny panel and reporting significant progress since the panel’s inception.
The Homophobic and Transphobic Hate Crime Scrutiny Panel was set up to allow members from a diverse range of North Wales’s communities to examine cases of hate crime in the area to raise awareness of how the CPS makes decisions.
The panel also allows community members to advise CPS staff on ways to improve the prosecution of hate crime cases.
Ed Beltrami, chief prosecutor for North Wales, said: “Considering the panel has only been operating for a year, the progress made has been excellent.
“Many lessons have already been taken on board and relayed to CPS staff and to our partners in the Criminal Justice System.
“Panel members have also increased their knowledge and awareness of how the CPS operates and are feeding this into their communities.
“We have an excellent base to build upon in the coming year.”
Cases are selected independently of the CPS for scrutiny and community members set the tone and direction of the meetings.
Issues explored in the three day-long meetings that have taken place so far have included the quality of information relayed to victims of hate crime and the improved application of section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, which imposes a duty on the court to increase the sentence for any offence aggravated by hostility based on the victim’s sexual orientation or presumed sexual orientation.
It is hoped more victims of homophobic and transphobic hate crime will come forward and report crime.