Chief Constable Sara Thornton has caused quite a media stir by suggesting that Police need to focus on solving actual crime rather than dealing with alleged misoygny or the investigation of dead people. Such is the state of policing priorities in the UK in 2018 that this necessitates requires further discussion.
Ms Thornton, chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said that while “treating misogyny as a hate crime is a concern for some well-organised campaigning organisations”, forces “do not have the resources to do everything”. She added: “I want us to solve more burglaries and bear down on violence before we make more records of incidents that are not crimes”, adding she hoped the review “takes account of the pressure on forces before suggesting the law is changed”.
This brings this experienced Police officer into conflict with those liberal regressives such as Labout MP Stella Creasey who insists that misogyny (but not misandry, bizarrely) should be made a crime.
A Labour MP is trying to change the law so that misogynistic behaviour is treated as a hate crime. Stella Creasy wants to amend new legislation that would ban taking unsolicited pictures under someone’s clothing. Her changes would mean someone convicted of the crime could get a tougher sentence if it was “motivated by misogyny”.
It is already a crime to take unsolicited pictures under someone’s clothes (upskirting) and Police can therefore use existing laws to prosecute such perverts. Creasy is adding the worrisome caveat that additional punishment can be doled out if the motivation does not meet with her approval. Quite who proves the alleged thoughtcrime off “misogyny” is left to hang in the air.
The deeper point is that by seeking to turn boorish and indeed deplorable attitudes into crime Creasy is in danger of actually trivialising genuine crimes such as burglary and violent crimes. Not only that but as Sara Thornton points out, the Police do not have the resources to combat real and imagined crimes. So why are liberal politicians pushing an agenda that they must know actually dilutes the ability of the Police to do their job?
It has been reported in recent day that the Metropolitan Police have boasted that it has ‘over 900 specialist hate crime investigators working across London’s dedicated hate crime Community Safety Units’. Meanwhile the murder rate in London spirals ever upwards, acid attacks are commomplace and knife crime is endemic in certain communities. Would Londoners prefer to see these 900 on their streets or behind computers?
As former Metropolitan Police Chief Commissioner Philip Flowers observed’
“Those who’ve experienced what can only be classed as perceived slights —wolf whistles, rude jokes, swearing — report their grievances to the police and, because it is policy, officers are compelled to follow them up”
These perceived slights may be unpleasant but they are not crime. And the Police should not be wasting time and resource investigating such.
Part of the problem lies in the definition of “Hate Crime” A hate crime, the police say, is ‘any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic’. Such a loose definition means that anything can be recorded as an alleged “hate crime” and then the media parrot the inevitable sky rocketing of such to suggest we are gripped in a hate crime epidemic!
Police currently have an obligation to investigate all such “hate crime” allegations and in many police force areas this is seen as an operation priority. So, in this way, someone unhappy at being wolf whistled at can command policing priority over someone being mugged.
Crime is crime. Hate crime is an invented distraction. Chief Constable Sara Thornton is right to spell out that hurt feelings may be regrettable but they do not warrant any policing resources. It’s time to ban hate crime.