In order for an offence to constitute a “hate crime”, first a “basic” crime has to be committed. There are a number of such possible offences which can be committed by way of an insult, particularly offences under the Public Order Act 1986, the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and the Communications Act 2003.
Such offences could be designated as a “hate crime”, if they meet the required criteria for the three strands of hate crime offences – (a) racially and religiously aggravated offences; (b) homophobic, transphobic and biphobic offences and (c) disability hate crime.
The Government does not issue legal guidance to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which is independent. The CPS hate crime guidance, which must be followed by all prosecutors, was reviewed and published in June 2017.