Figures released by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) show an increase in reported hate crimes in Kent during 2017/18 compared to the previous year – but also reveal the south east has one of the highest conviction rates in the country.
The CPS hate crime annual report, published this month, shows that CPS South East, which is responsible for these types of prosecutions in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, had the third highest conviction rate out of 14 CPS areas.
Between April 2017 and March 2018, there were 787 prosecuted hate crimes across the three counties and defendants were convicted in 685 of these cases, an 87% conviction rate.
For racially and religiously aggravated crimes, which make up the majority of hate crimes in the South East with 635 cases dealt with during the year, there was an 88% conviction rate.
The South East also saw improvements in the conviction rates for disability hate crime, up from 75.6% in 2016-17 to 80.5% in 2017-18 and for crimes against older people, which rose from 75.7% in 2016-17 to 84.2% in 2017-18.
The conviction rate for homophobic and transphobic hate crimes decreased, remaining just under the national average at 83.8%.
In Kent during 2016/17 there were 289 prosecuted hate crimes and 247 successful convictions. In 2017/18 there was a rise to 346 hate crimes, with 298 convictions.
There were 243 racially and religiously motivated prosecuted crimes in Kent during 2016/17 with 209 convictions. For 2017/18 this was 289 crimes and 251 convictions.
Homophobic and transphobic crime in Kent saw 30 Kent cases with 26 successful prosecutions in 2016/17. For 2017/18 this rose 10 38 cases and 31 convictions.
Disability hate crimes in Kent saw 16 cases and 12 convictions in 2016/17 and 19 cases with 16 convictions in 2017/18.
Crimes against older people in Kent saw 112 cases and 92 convictions in 2016/17 and 119 cases and 102 convictions in 2017/18.
Defendants responsible for hate crimes motivated ‘wholly or partly’ by hostility based on perceived religion, race, sexual orientation or disability can also be given stiffer sentences by the court.
These “uplifted” sentences can range from extended prison terms to longer community punishments, depending on the crime. During 2017-18, 69.3% of all hate crime convictions received such an uplift, higher than the national figure of 65.2%.
Thanet hate crimes include:
Tyler Crane, August 6, 2017
The Birchington teenager was jailed for carrying out a homophobic attack in Margate.
On Sunday 6 August two women were walking in Grosvenor Hill in Margate when they were approached by a group of people.
One of the group, Tyler Crane, confronted the victims with homophobic abuse before swinging a wooden plank with embedded nails at them.
The group closed in on the victims and assaulted them. Crane was seen to drag one of the victims along the ground by her hair before punching her.
She suffered bruises as a result of the attack.
Crane also stole the other victim’s bag which contained a mobile phone, bankcard, glasses and other personal items.
Following an investigation by Kent Police, Crane was identified by local officers as being the main suspect and he was arrested.
At Canterbury Crown Court, Crane, of The Parade, Birchington, admitted the charges of the hate crime-aggravated assault by beating, affray, possession of an offensive weapon, and theft.
Crane was sentenced to 18 months in a youth offenders institute on Friday, November 17, 2017.
Kevin Friend, June 20, 2017
Friend went on a rampage racially threatening and assaulting almost a dozen young people in Margate. He was jailed for two years.
The 30-year-old, previously of Ingoldsby Road in Folkestone, racially abused a security guard at a shop in Margate High Street on Tuesday 20 June. The court heard how he then went on a rampage shouting racial abuse at a number of people, including pupils from Hartsdown Academy, and physically assaulting some of them in All Saints Avenue that same day. He is reported to have slapped a 12-year-old boy with autism and pushed a 15-year-old into a bush.
He then visited the address of a previous partner and assaulted her along with a neighbour before being arrested by Kent Police officers. Once in custody Friend also assaulted a male police officer.
He pleaded guilty to affray, two counts of common assault, racially aggravated public order and assault on an officer and was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court on Wednesday 27 September, 2017.
One of his victims was 14-year-old Amira Newton. The teenager filmed Friend for police to use as evidence, having been advised to do so by officers after a previous racial abuse incident.
Her shocked mum Ayaan Bulale took the video straight to police.
Following the verdict Ayaan said: “We are happy with the outcome of the court case and the diligent work by Margate police. I encouraged my daughter to attend court so she could witness how the law deals with racist bullies who show blatant disregard for others especially the most vulnerable – our children.”
Friends’ sentence consisted of 22 months for affray and two months for breach of a suspended sentence.
There were concurrent sentences for three assault charges. No extra penalty was given for the racially aggravated public order charge.
Chris Solly, January 2018
A great-grandmother in Westbrook says she has had the worst year of her life after a neighbour racially and physically assaulted her daughter, verbally assaulted her and then she was served with a section 21 eviction notice from her flat.
Brenda Vidal, 61, says she feels as though she is being punished for taking her neighbour to court after the attack in January.
Th mum-of-three, from Seaview Terrace, says her nightmare began when her daughter Anita, son-in-law Chris and two grandchildren, arrived for a visit. The family had last year been evacuated from Dominica in the wake of devastation from Hurricane Maria.
Brenda said: “It started on a Friday, we heard shouting outside and it was my neighbour shouting at Anita’s husband. Anita went to find out what was happening, and he changed and said he did not know I had visitors. We just put it down to the fact he had been drinking.
“Then not long after Anita, Chris and two friends came over. Anita and her friend were talking in the lobby when we heard a fumbling at the front door. It sounded like my neighbour couldn’t get his key in the lock so Anita’s friend opened the door for him.
“He came into the hallway, swearing and getting really angry and was shouting in Anita’s face.
“He started to go upstairs and then raced back down and went for Anita. He was pushing and shoving her in the chest, pushed her against the unit and was shouting racist abuse.
“It was very frightening, he is a big man. He was shouting and swearing at us so I said I would call the police and he wrestled the phone out of my hand.”
Brenda, who has 11 grandchildren, says the group shut themselves in her flat but the neighbour tried to force his way in. She called the police and later reported the incident to her landlord.
Chris Solly, was convicted and sentenced at Margate Magistrates’ Court on September 3.
He received 12 months conditional discharge for racially/religiously aggravated common assault and a £300 fine for racially/religiously aggravated fear and provocation of violence by words. There was an uplift of the original sentence (9 months discharge and £200 fine) due to the crimes being motivated ‘wholly or partly’ by hostility based on perceived religion, race, sexual orientation or disability.
Gareth Morgan, from the CPS, said: “ We understand victims of hate crime are often the most fearful of coming forward and can suffer the abuse they are experiencing in silence for months and sometimes years, believing that there is nothing that can be done about it.
“We can assure you that you will be helped throughout the process, with independent support available. If you need to give evidence about what has happened to you and the impact it has had on your life in court, we may be able to apply for special measures to enable you to do this with confidence.”
“Hate crimes have no place in our society. It is not acceptable for anyone to be discriminated against on the basis of their race, religion, sexual orientation or disability and we will do everything we can to tackle this in the South East.”
Reporting racial or hate crimes
To make a report call Kent Police or go into your nearest police station. For advice on supporting victims of hate crime speak to Thanet local Community Liaison Officer Tim Weaver by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Find more advice here
If you’d prefer to speak to someone else about what’s happened:
Go online to the True Vision online reporting website
Call Victim Support on 0300 303 0156