Police cannot pick and choose between crimes, says Diane Abbott

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Misogyny allegations should be recorded by police, Diane Abbott has said, a day after one of the country’s most senior officers argued that forces are too stretched to take on all “desirable and deserving” issues.

The shadow home secretary said “hate-filled” letters, including rape threats, are received daily at her office, and police had visited her this week to collect some of the latest.

But Ms Abbott said forces should not be expected to “pick and choose” between crimes, and called on the Government to provide proper resources to officers.

Speaking at the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners summit on Thursday, the Labour MP referenced remarks made by NPCC chairwoman Sara Thornton on Wednesday.

Ms Thornton, former chief constable of Thames Valley Police, said forces must focus on catching burglars and violent offenders rather than recording incidents that are not crimes.

Ms Abbott said: “As usual, Sara spoke robust common sense but what I would say is, it’s not a question of de-prioritising hate crime for instance.

“I know Sara wasn’t actually saying that. But it is a question of saying that the police should not have to pick and choose between crimes.

“If society sets certain objectives, if society wants to promote certain behavioural norms, then it is for Government to provide the resources so the police can play its part.

“The police cannot pick and choose between crimes.”

Asked, during a question-and-answer session, if she thought allegations of misogyny should be recorded by police, she said: “Just yesterday the police came to my office to collect some of the letters that we receive on a daily basis, threatening rape, threatening violence, hate-filled letters.

“I am in favour, because it is the right thing to do, to take the most serious action against hate crime. But we cannot give the police more responsibilities without providing the resources.”

In July, chief constables debated whether allegations such as misogyny should be logged even when no crime is committed.

On Wednesday the Home Office launched a national campaign to highlight examples of potential hate crimes.

The Government has commissioned a review to examine whether laws should be extended to cover offences motivated by hostility towards a victim’s sex or age.

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