Boris Johnson rules out making misogyny a hate crime because it would overload the police

‘Rather than introducing new laws, what you need to do is enforce the existing laws’

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Tuesday 05 October 2021 10:42
Comments
Boris Johnson refuses to make misogyny hate crime in wake of Everard case

Boris Johnson has ruled out prosecuting misogyny as a hate crime, arguing it would overload the justice system and make the fight against rape and domestic violence harder.

The prime minister called violence against women “the number one issue in policing” and argued the way forces approach it is “just not working”.

But, asked about the campaign for misogyny to be made a specific hate crime, he replied: “Rather than introducing new laws, what you need to do is enforce the existing laws.”

Mr Johnson added: “To be perfectly frank, if you simply widen the scope of what you ask the police to do, you’ll just increase the problem.

“What you need to do is get police to focus on the very real crimes,” he told BBC Breakfast, “the very real feeling of injustice and betrayal that many people feel.”

Most chief constables have backed making misogyny a hate crime in the courts, but Scotland Yard is seen by many as an obstruction to the change.

Campaigners argue it would encourage women to report public harassment because they could have more confidence that it would be treated seriously.

They believe it would also help to change the culture of police forces, amid widespread concern that women’s complaints are trivialised.

Recording misogyny a hate crime was announced as a key reform for all police forces after the murder of Sarah Everard in March.

But only 11 of the 43 forces in England and Wales have adopted the practice, despite Priti Patel, the home secretary, saying said others would follow suit.

Chief constables say they have been waiting for Home Office guidance to outline specifically how it should be recorded and which offences should be included.

But the prime minister instead stressed the ned for a culture change in police forces, by training more female officers.

“One of the best ways you can see that change happen is make sure that you have more female police officers,” he said.

“In the Met [Metropolitan police] now you are now running at 40 per cent. That is a good thing. I want to see those officers progress up the ranks and attain senior positions and change the culture.”

The government is under huge pressure over what many see as a near-meltdown of the court system, after Covid followed years of huge funding cuts.

In early 2020, there were 430 of the most serious cases waiting to go in front of judges for at least two years, but that number has risen to 1,882, according to Labour figures.

No fewer than 516 of those are for violent or sexual offences – up from 61 last year, the Opposition said.

David Lammy, the shadow Justice Secretary, said: “The Tories have cut the justice system to the bone and left the victims of crime in limbo for years as a result.

“Women don’t have confidence in our justice system because our PM is treating victims of violence and sexual offences as an afterthought.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in