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CC Sara Thornton replies to letter from the Fawcett Society

14 Jan 2019

The Fawcett Society has today published an open letter to NPCC Chair Sara Thornton and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, urging them to support making misogyny a hate crime. CC Sara Thornton's response can be seen below.

Dear Sam Smethers

Re: Misogyny Hate Crime

Thank you for your letter.

I share your concerns about violence, harassment and domestic abuse against women and support the important work many of the signatories of your letter do in tackling these issues and championing women.  Police forces take violence, harassment and abuse of women and girls very seriously and strive to protect them from harm and criminal behaviour that impacts on their lives.

In my speech at the annual NPCC and APCC conference, I argued that core policing is seriously stretched and that we must prioritise because we do not have the resources to do everything that is desirable and deserving.  I used the call for us to record misogyny as a hate incident, even when no crime committed,  as an example of an issue I believe cannot be a priority when policing is so overstretched. 

I recognise there are well-reasoned arguments for and against treating misogyny as a hate crime.  I was not weighing up the rights and wrongs of those arguments but warning we must take the pressures on forces into account when considering this issue – and others. Whether a criminal justice response is the right way to deal with the serious issue of misogyny should be subject to wider debate, which I hope the Law Commission’s review will facilitate.

I would be very happy to meet women who have experienced harassment and violence and hear their perspective as you suggest.

Yours sincerely,

Sara Thornton CBE, QPM

Chief Constable

Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council

10 Victoria Street