Boris Johnson rules out making misogyny a hate crime

Boris Johnson rules out making misogyny a hate crime saying there is ‘abundant’ existing laws that should be enforced to tackle violence against women

  • Boris Johnson brushes off calls to make misogyny a recognised hate crime 
  • The PM argued ‘abundance’ of existing legislation should be better enforced 
  • He vowed to make domestic violence and rape the ‘number one issue’ he tackles
  • His comments come amid brewing national row regarding women’s safety in the wake of high-profile, violent attacks on Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa by men
  • Home Secretary Priti Patel announced inquiry into ‘systematic police failures’ 

Boris Johnson has brushed off calls to formally recognise misogyny as a hate crime, instead arguing the ‘abundance’ of existing laws should be better enforced rather than new legislation brought in. 

The Prime Minister has vowed to make domestic violence and rape the ‘number one issue’ he tackles within policing, and said the way police and criminal justice system currently handles violent crimes against women was ‘just not working’.  

His comments come amid a brewing national row over women’s safety, with thousands sharing their experiences of feeling unsafe on streets, parks and other public areas in Britain.

The Met Police’s Wayne Couzens, 48, murdered Sarah Everard after using Covid laws to stage a fake arrest and kidnap the 33-year-old as she walked along a street in Clapham in March. The disgraced officer was given a life sentence at the Old Bailey.

Mr Johnson added the ‘anger over Ms Everard’s murder is a symptom’ of a ‘wider frustration that people feel’. 

Asked if he believed misogyny should be a hate crime, Mr Johnson told BBC Breakfast: ‘I think that what we should do is prosecute people for the crimes we have on the statute book.

‘That is what I am focused on. To be perfectly honest, if you widen the scope of what you ask the police to do, you will just increase the problem.

‘What you need to do is get the police to focus on the very real crimes, the very real feeling of injustice and betrayal that many people feel.’

Boris Johnson has brushed off calls to formally recognise misogyny as a hate crime, instead arguing the ‘abundance’ of existing laws should be better enforced rather than new legislation brought in

Home Secretary Priti Patel ‘s announced an independent inquiry into the ‘systematic failures’ that allowed Wayne Couzens to serve as a Met police officer and murder Sarah Everard 

Mr Johnson also backed the recruitment of more female police officers as a potential solution to change institutional cultures within police forces. 

The issue of violence against women has been thrust into the limelight in the wake of the high-profile, violent attacks on Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa by men.

Today, Home Secretary Priti Patel’s announced an independent inquiry into the ‘systematic failures’ that allowed Wayne Couzens to serve as a Met police officer and murder Ms Everard. 

It also comes just weeks after primary school teacher Sabina Nessa, 28, was killed as she walked through Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south-east London, on her way to meet a friend on September 17.  

11 police units, including Nottinghamshire, North Yorkshire, Avon and Somerset, have adopted misogyny or gender as a form of hate crime for recording purposes, but dozens of other forces are yet to do so.

Associate Professor Loretta Trickett, of Nottingham Law School, co-authored a report which analysed levels of misogyny and hate crime two years after the policy was brought in by Nottinghamshire Police.

She said: ‘Boris Johnson’s comments display an unwillingness to listen to women’s experiences and to recognise that crimes against women are driven by misogyny.

The PM’s comments comes after Ms Everard, 33, was murdered by policeman Wayne Couzens, 48, in Clapham, London in March

Sabina Nessa, 28, originally from Bedfordshire. Ms Nessa was killed as she walked through Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south-east London, on her way to meet a friend on September 17

‘Indeed, there is a key difference between men who abuse women and men that do not and that is the misogynistic attitudes of the former.

‘By having misogyny as a hate crime, you recognise that crimes against women are informed by hostility towards women as a social group and that they are experienced by women as hostile acts.’

She added: ‘The fact that our Prime Minister does not see the relevance of misogyny to violence against women and girls is deeply troubling.’

Campaigners have long argued that prejudice against women is a ‘root cause’ of gender-based violence and have called for it to be officially recognised as a hate crime in English and Welsh courts. 

Currently, hate crimes in England and Wales are specifically based on an individual’s race, religion, disabilities, gender identity or sexual orientation.  

MPs have been lobbying to make misogyny a hate crime over the past few months.

The chairman of the Commons Justice Committee, the Tory MP, Sir Bob Neill, said last week that the Government should consider making misogyny a hate crime in the same way that racism was following the Macpherson Inquiry into the killing of Stephen Lawrence.

In July, Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse told the House of Commons that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill should ‘enshrine misogyny as a hate crime’ during a debate on the prospective legislation.

The Bill, which contains a wide-ranging raft of measures aimed at overhauling the criminal justice system, is currently making its way through the House of Lords.

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