Police ‘often don’t do anything’ when abuse reported, MP says

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A Conservative MP has said police often “don’t do anything” when he reports abusive messages.

Andrew Rosindell, who represents Romford, was speaking after Sir David Amess was killed in his nearby constituency of Southend West on Friday.

Speaking to the PA news agency outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, where Sir David was stabbed to death on Friday while meeting constituents, Mr Rosindell said MPs are “a little bit” frightened after the incident.

Mr Rosindell said he has brushed off abuse and threats received in the past “because we’ve got a job to do”, adding he believes a change is needed in the approach taken to MPs’ security.

He said his office does contact police about abuse, but often either nothing is done or he is asked to “give endless statements which lead nowhere”.

He told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme: “I’ve been an MP 20 years, and during that period I see a lot of more nasty people around than ever before, and they are willing to say and do things in a way that I would never have thought possible in this country. And we all have to be really aware and keep our wits about us.

“The abuse we get on social media, by emails, I mean we get it all the time. But we brush it off because we’ve got a job to do. And we tell the police. The police have got other things to do, it’s not always followed up.

“And I think probably this has all got to change, we have got to take this a bit more seriously in future.

“I’ve had my office arsoned, my car was smashed up, someone tried to get into my house and injure me – managed to stop them.

“All these things have happened over the years, but you take it in your stride because our priority is to get on with our job, and we do tend to not think much about our own security, I’m afraid. But I’m thinking now maybe we should do a bit more.”

The MP told Times Radio: “In the last few years I’ve had four or five incidents where I’ve had to report things to the police.

“And quite often they… literally don’t do anything, or the onus is on me to have to give endless statements which lead nowhere.

“I’ve sat and given endless statements in the past and nothing comes back to you.

“I was attacked in the 2017 election. I’ve had threatening emails and abusive emails sent to constituents about me. Almost nothing ever happens with these things.

“Do I blame the police? They’ve got a job to, they’re under-resourced, I guess. These cases are very difficult to get to the bottom of. And life moves on. The next day I have got 101 other issues to have to deal with.”

He described it as a “huge dilemma”.

Speaking to PA, Mr Rosindell said: “Are we frightened? A little bit after this, yeah, I have to admit.

“If it could happen to David, it could happen to any MP.”

He added that MP surgeries, where they meet and speak with constituents, should not be promoted on social media and should instead be promoted in the local community.

“The problem with social media is that it can be picked up by anybody, anywhere,” he said. “A bad person can see it and can suddenly turn up and this is clearly what happened with David.”

Sir David had publicised his surgery at the church on Twitter several days before the attack.

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