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Sexual Orientation Hate Crime (778A/22)


Please can you provide the following information in excel or csv format and for the calendar years 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

  1. The total number of hate crimes in the sexual orientation strand, defined as crimes “motivated by a hostility to another person’s sexual orientation (or perceived sexual orientation)”.
  2. The number of arrests and cautions made for a sexual orientation hate crime.
  3. The number of perpetrators in each sex, broken down in the following age brackets: 0-18, 19-25, 26-29, 30-39, 40-49, over-50.
  4. The number of victims in each of the following age brackets: 0-18, 19-25, 26-29, 30-39, 40-49, over-50.
  5. The number of type 1 outcomes, defined as charge/summons.
  6. The number of type 14 outcomes, defined as evidential difficulties: suspect not identified; victim does not support further action.
  7. The number of type 16 outcomes, defined as evidential difficulties: suspect identified; victim supports action.


Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide all of this information within the appropriate (cost) limit within the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act (see ‘Reason for Decision’ below).

However, although excess cost removes the force’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act, as a gesture of goodwill I have supplied information, relative to your request, retrieved before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded (see attached file 778A_22_attachment.xlsx*). I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of the request.

*With regard to the attached data, it is important to note that in April 2021, West Midlands Police (WMP) moved to new recording systems. Prior to this, Hate Crime was identified using a field called Offence Type.

This particular field did not allow you to apply multiple flags to an offence, and if the hate crime was accompanied by another flag (e.g. Domestic Abuse) then it is possible that that flag would take precedence and the hate crime flag would not be recorded in the data field.

Since moving to the new recording systems, the field we now use is Keywords. This field allows the recording of multiple flags for each incident. This enables WMP to identify incidents that involve multiple types of hate crime as well as other flags relating to the incident.

In summary, the change in how flags have been recorded in the past and how they are recorded now means that data prior to April 2021 may not detect all possible hate crime offences, only those where the relating flag took precedence above other flags that could be applied. The introduction of improved flagging means that we can detect more relevant incidents.

Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from a number of data sources used by forces for police purposes. The detail collected to respond specifically to your request is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when interpreting those data.

The figures provided therefore are our best interpretation of relevance of data to your request, but you should be aware that the collation of figures for ad hoc requests may have limitations and this should be taken into account when those data are used.

If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would ask you to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.

As recommended as good practice by the Information Commissioner’s Office a version of this response may be published on the West Midlands Police website.


In order to determine the number of arrests made for a sexual orientation hate crime, we would need to manually review every case. This however would involve examining thousands of records and such a search would exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12).

Additionally, due to the major system change as described above, it is not currently possible to extract information for question 3 (perpetrators) without manually reviewing every case. As before, this would involve examining thousands of records and such a search would exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12).

This means that the cost of compliance with the whole of your request is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond, i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information would exceed the appropriate costs limit under section 12(1) of the FOI Act 2000. For West Midlands Police, the appropriate limit is set at £450, as prescribed by the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, S.I. 3244.

Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here: