Should misogyny really be a hate crime? – Blaise Tapp

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, who has backed a drive to focus on violent offenders rather than recording incidents of misogyny that are not crimes
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, who has backed a drive to focus on violent offenders rather than recording incidents of misogyny that are not crimes

It is fair to say we live in a world where everybody is on red alert to take offence.  The chances are you might get the hump reading this or be deeply upset by the colour of my trousers or my choice of daily newspaper.

People have always got upset by the actions of others but the difference is there are now so many digital channels through which we can vent our collective spleen that anger and dissent really does punctuate our lives.

We inhabit an age of division, where the tolerant centre ground seems to be disappearing and is being replaced by increasingly shrill voices on the left and right.

Both think the other preposterous and, more importantly, wrong. Constructive debate is almost impossible. There is a growing army of people who, rather than agreeing to disagree, go out of their way to get as cross with their adversary as possible.

The stiff upper lip is now as much of a thing of the past in British life as the bowler hat – we now feel it is our divine right to make a scene, usually via our keyboard or smartphone. 

But it is not just social media which has empowered so many to take a stand as many of this new generation of victims are turning to the law with their complaints.

I have always had a slight issue with the term hate crime. The list of hate crimes is a long one because, according to the Metropolitan Police website, a hate crime is when somebody commits an offence against you ‘because of your disability, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, religion, or any other perceived difference’.

But a growing number of the country’s leading police officers have spoken out at moves to make misogyny a hate crime, meaning more than 50 per cent of the population are potential victims.

These chief constables argue that their under pressure officers should be allowed to focus on fighting violent crime and burglaries rather than historical allegations or misogyny, where a crime has not been committed. 

Men and women are already protected by a raft of legislation meaning that anybody who commits a crime against us risks prosecution. 

We cannot expect the police to fight every battle for us.