One of Britain’s most senior police officers has said the force must focus on catching burglars and violent offenders rather than recording incidents of misogyny or investigating allegations against dead people.
National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) chairwoman Sara Thornton warned forces are too stretched to take on all ‘desirable and deserving’ issues, such as logging reports of wolf-whistling and incidents of misogyny when no offence has been committed.
Concerns have been raised in recent months about rising crime levels in the UK, which are at their highest for 13 years, according to the Office of National Statistics.
Opening a joint conference hosted by the NPCC and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), Ms Thornton said core policing is ‘seriously stretched’.
She said: “We are asked to provide more and more bespoke services that are all desirable – but the simple fact is there are too many desirable and deserving issues.
“For example, treating misogyny as a hate crime is a concern for some well-organised campaigning organisations.”
In July, chief constables debated whether such allegations should be logged even when no crime is committed.
Ms Thornton said: “I want us to solve more burglaries and bear down on violence before we make more records of incidents that are not crimes.”
READ MORE FROM YAHOO NEWS UK:
Christmas getaway chaos: These are the areas set to be worst affected by rail disruption
Top cop urges police to focus on burglaries and violent crime rather than wolf whistling
Fireworks thrown at blind woman and guide dog as they walked through Leeds park
Watch: First footage offers proof of supermassive black hole lurking at the heart of the Milky Way
CCTV footage shows person breaking into ambulance while crew treated a patient
She told the conference in central London that investigating gender-based hate incidents and allegations against those who have died are not ‘bad things to do’, but added: “They just cannot be priorities for a service that is over-stretched.”
Her comments are seen as a rejection of the Home Office’s suggestion that hate crime laws should be extended to cover offences motivated by hostility towards a victim’s sex or age.
Hate crimes and incidents are defined as those perceived to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a personal characteristic.
Five strands are currently monitored by the government: race or ethnicity, religion or beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, and transgender identity.
Statistics published earlier this month revealed that, in 2017/18, there were 94,098 hate crime offences recorded by police in England and Wales, an increase of 17% compared with the previous year.
Addressing the same summit, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said crime has changed ‘faster than we could ever have anticipated’.
He acknowledged forces are ‘feeling stretched’ and pledged to ensure they have the resources they need in 2019/20.
While noting that extra investment will help, he also called for greater focus on crime prevention.