Religious Hate Crime in England and Wales

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Religion is described as the collection of dogmas, values, practices, and feelings that describe the relationship between divinity and humans. The majority of religious sects are founded on an idealized account of a country or a prophet who taught his disciples the ideals of life (Atheisme.free.fr, 2018). Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and atheists are among the religious sects in England and Wales. Bullying, collateral destruction, cyber harassment, threatening behavior, and verbal or physical abuse are all examples of hate crimes aimed at the community. Hate incidents of religion can be crimes when offenders target another person due to their hostility and prejudice based on religion. The two major types of religious hate crime include religiously aggravated felonies under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and any other crimes in which the sentence can be increased under the Criminal Justice Act 2003, if they are categorized as a hate crime. If the judge identifies an offense as a religious hate crime, he or she can impose a harsh sentence on the offender. In this paper, religious hate crime will be tackled based on the scope and scale in England and Wales with the assistance of the the Court, the Police Service, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) on the extent that they understand the subject matter, address the question posed, and their analytical approach.

Demographics of England and Wales

Wales has a population of approximately 3,170,000 in 2017, which is a great growth rate as compared to 2011 when it was 3, 063,000 (Ukpopulation.org/wales, 2018). Christianity is the popular religion in Wales with 57.6 percent of the total population from 2011 with the majority claiming to be Christians. A huge percentage attends Anglican and Catholic churches. Islam comes second in terms of religious followers with a percentage of 1.5 known as Muslims. Buddhism 0.5 percent, Hinduism 0.3, Judaism 0.1, Sikhism 0.1, other religion 0.4, religion not stated 7.6, and no religion 32.1. Conversely, England, which is the biggest of the four states that make up Britain, comprises 84.14 percent of the cumulative population of UK. It is almost ten times bigger than Scotland. In 2017, the approximate population was 55.5 million much higher than in 2013 when it was 54 million. Based on the religious demographics in 2011, Christianity is the biggest religion in England with a percentage of 59.38 then followed by Islam with 5.02 percent, Buddhist with 0.45, Hindu with 1.52 percent, Jewish with 0.49, Sikh 0.79, those with no religion 24.74, and religion not stated 7.18 (Ukpopulation.org/england, 2018).

Scale and Scope of Religious Hate Crime in Wales and England

Among the “five strands” that the police service, the Courts, the CPS, and the NOMS in the legal justice system monitor centrally, religious hate crime seems to be the primary one that is of major concern in England and Wales. In 2011/2012, the police recorded 1,618 religious hate crimes, in 2012/2013, they recorded 1572, in 2013/2014, the number rose to 2264, in 2014/2015, they recorded 3293, in 2015/2016 the reports increased to 4,400, then in 2016/2017, they recorded around 5949 (Statista, 2018). The rapid increase in the number of religious hate crimes makes it a national issue that needs to be solved with immediate effect to reduce the cases. Religious attacks in England and Wales have risen mainly due to Brexit and recent terrorist attacks. According to reports forwarded to the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) by the victims, there was an increase of about 29 percent following the two incidents. For instance, twelve months prior to March 2017, the reported hate crimes were approximately 80,393 compared to a similar period between 2015-2016 where only 62, 518 felonies were reported (John, 2017). The terrorist attack in Manchester Arena in June 2017 where 22 people were killed in Ariana Grande concert with the Islamic extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) claimed responsibility led to the rise of religious hate crimes. Other attacks include Westminster Bridge attack in March 2017 that was conducted by a Muslim Briton known as Khalid Masood, Finsbury Park, and London Bridge attacks. Extremist Muslims worldwide carried out majority of the terrorist attacks, which might have influenced an outrage from the citizens.

The European Union referendum on 23rd June 2016 where the 51.9 percent of United Kingdom electorates managed to vote in favour of leaving the EU also led to the rise of the religious hate crimes. The total turnout during the voting was 72.2 percent (BBC News, 2018). Examples of the incidents in the area of religion in 2016 brought about by the Brexit and terrorist attacks include a Muslim woman dragged by her hijab by unknown people along the pavement and Muslim cousins being squirted with acid (Bulman, 2017). Hate felonies against Muslims at street level could also be contributed due to their minority in England and Wales with Christians being the majority; hence, prejudiced.

The extent to which they demonstrate an understanding of the subject matter

The police service tries to measure the cause of the religious hate crimes and monitor the figures. For instance, police facts obtained from the requests of the Freedom of Information (FOI) indicate that the incidents surged by about 23% from 40,741 in 2015 to 49,921 in 2016, which was exactly eleven months after the referendum. Eleven out of the thirty-two officers in Wales and England who responded to the requests from the FOI saw reports of religious hate crimes escalate by over forty percent with some sections such as Kent, Gwent, and Nottinghamshire increasing by more than 50% in a year (Bulman, 2017).

The Police service has recognized that religious hate crime is a national issue that needs to be dealt with effectively and recorded every report of incidents. For instance, the police service managed to record 80,393 incidents in March 2017 compared to 2015-16 where the number was 62,518 (John, 2017).

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) reviews cases related to faith-based felonies and prosecutes the offenders based on hate policies. It receives its evidence from the police who gather the facts of the cases as religiously aggravated. The cases are then flagged quickly on the Compass CMS utilizing the suitable monitoring codes to facilitate the investigation process of the evidence. Correspondingly, if the attorney who is receiving the CPS views that the case comprises of any aspect of hostility toward the victim, the apt monitoring code should be included in the CMS. If the prosecutor finds a religious hate crime offender guilty based on CPS policies, the sentence is pronounced based on the extent of the felony (Cps.gov.uk, 2018).

The courts assist in the interpretation of the human rights that include freedom of religion thereby making judgments based on the legislation. The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 assist in placing sentences on the offenders under the Criminal Justice Act 2003. The Court also protects the liberty of every citizen from any prejudice thus against the faith-based hate crime that is currently escalating in England and Wales. The courts through the assistance of the attorneys, judges, witnesses, and pieces of evidence make holdings on whether an offender is guilty or innocent.

NOMS collaborates with other the police service, CPS, the courts, and other agencies in ensuring a transformed legal justice system in Wales and England and reduces the numbers of victims and faith-based crimes in the society. It offers prison spaces, rehabilitation, and probation centres for the offenders.

The extent to which they address the question

The police service has addressed the issue of faith-based hate crime that they identified as having been caused by Brexit and the terrorist attacks by labelling it as an unacceptable felony in the community. It has also made citizens of England and Wales feel safe and secure in the society by deploying more officers on visible patrol routes. The forces have also deployed in the surrounding communities to offer reassurance, strengthen the bonds between the people, and reduce the tensions that were brought about by the two incidences (Bulman, 2017).

The police service has also encouraged victims and those who feel are vulnerable to report incidences faith-based hate crimes to the police as soon as they victimized or witness another person being victimized by dialling 101 (Bulman, 2017). The contacts assist in dealing with offenders faster thereby preventing the victim from facing further stress.

The national offender management service also tries to reduce the scale of religious hate crimes by offering rehabilitation programs for the offenders such as educating them on the importance of maintaining peace in the community and offering them interventions on the power of acceptance. NOMS also has a sub-branch of National Probation service that assists in carrying out a risk assessment for the offenders who pose a great risk to the society. It also provides prison places where the offenders who have been found guilty of their crimes are placed (GOV.UK, 2018).

The Courts assist in reducing the rising number of religious hate crimes in England and Wales by pronouncing harsh judgments on the religious hate crime offenders to reduce the practice and encourage the victims to seek help when their freedom is limited. It also assists in enforcing the law that has made hate crime illegal thereby interpreting the evidence presented by the attorneys according to the legislation.

The extent to which they adopt an analytical approach

The analytical approach that the agencies can adopt in dealing with the rising number of hate crimes can be an action plan that focuses on five areas. First is preventing a faith-based hate crime by dealing with the beliefs and attitudes such as discrimination that can cause it. Second is responding to religious hate crime in the society with a goal of reducing the rate of the incidents. This can be done by focusing on a number of settings, which have been perceived as high-risk environments of the felony such as public transport and the internet. The third is increasing report rate of the religious hate crimes. The police services and CPS need to take cases seriously and show the success in prosecuting the crime to encourage people to report the incidences that they experience. Fourth is improving support for the victim; when officers offer effective and timely support to the victims, their level of distress reduces. Lastly is building and developing an understanding of the scale, scope, nature of the religious hate crimes, all the agencies need to tackle the crime by comprehending its root causes to find a better solution.

Conclusion

England and Wales both have a huge number of Christian followers compared to the Muslims. The two cities have been faced with a religious hate crime for quite some time; however, following Brexit and several terrorist attacks in 2016 and 2017 respectively, the crime has increased with the majority of Muslims becoming victims. Various agencies efforts are put in place to tackle the problem, which includes the Courts, the police service, the CPS, and the NOMS. The extent in which police service comprehends the subject matter relies upon their effort in recording the crimes, CPS in prosecuting offenders, the courts upholding the rule of law, and the NOMS offering rehabilitation to the victims and prison spaces.

References

Atheisme.free.fr. (2018). What is religion ? Definition of religion – Etymology of religion – Sacred – Faith. [online] Available at: http://atheisme.free.fr/Religion/What-is-religion-1.htm [Accessed 23 Jul. 2018].

Statista. (2018). Religious hate crime England and Wales 2011-2017 | Statistic. [online] Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/536451/police-recorded-religious-hate-crime-in-england-and-wales/ [Accessed 23 Jul. 2018].

Ukpopulation.org/wales. (2018). Wales Population 2018 | Population UK. [online] Available at: https://www.ukpopulation.org/wales-population/ [Accessed 23 Jul. 2018].

Ukpopulation.org/england. (2018). England Population 2018 | Population UK. [online] Available at: http://www.ukpopulation.org/england-population/ [Accessed 23 Jul. 2018].

BBC News. (2018). EU Referendum Results. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/politics/eu_referendum/results [Accessed 23 Jul. 2018].

John, T. (2017). http://time.com. [online] Time. Available at: http://time.com/4985332/hate-crime-uk-2017/ [Accessed 23 Jul. 2018].

Bulman, M. (2017). Brexit vote sees highest spike in religious and racial hate crimes ever recorded. [online] The Independent. Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/racist-hate-crimes-surge-to-record-high-after-brexit-vote-new-figures-reveal-a7829551.html [Accessed 23 Jul. 2018].

Cps.gov.uk. (2018). Racist and Religious Hate Crime – Prosecution Guidance | The Crown Prosecution Service. [online] Available at: https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/racist-and-religious-hate-crime-prosecution-guidance [Accessed 23 Jul. 2018].

GOV.UK. (2018). About us. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/national-offender-management-service/about [Accessed 23 Jul. 2018].

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