Unmesh Desai: 'Misogyny must be made a hate crime'

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick speaks to media after taking part in a walkabout

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick has announced an inquiry into misogyny and sexism in some parts of the force - Credit: PA

Violence against women and young girls continues to be an endemic problem in our society and indeed worldwide.

Since the horrific murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer, at least 81 women have been killed by men across the country.

The home secretary has now announced an inquiry into the police over the Sarah Everard case. This is a positive step forward, but what Londoners want to see emerge is an urgent and robust action plan to make our streets safer for women and girls.

Unmesh Desa will be monitoring the implementation of the new Policing Action Plan.

Unmesh Desai has been campaigning to make misogyny a hate crime since 2016 - Credit: City Hall

As well as rooting out racist, sexist and homophobic attitudes wherever they exist among their ranks, it is clear that the Met need also to focus on tightening up its vetting procedures and how whistle-blower complaints are handled.

As for my part, from City Hall, I will continue with my campaign to make misogyny a hate crime.

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I started this when I was first elected to the London Assembly in 2016, and I am glad the mayor, Sadiq Khan, has also announced his support for it.

This would be a key way of addressing the harassment and abuse that women and girls are subjected to on a routine basis. However, it was very disappointing to see Boris Johnson recently rule out his support for making misogyny a hate crime and I am urging him to reconsider this.

I have also been marking National Hate Crime Awareness Week. It has been very concerning to see that hate crime in general has risen during the pandemic and the recent 85th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street has been a reminder that we must remain vigilant to and stand up against the forces that aim to divide us.

Finally, I am also worried about the impact of the government’s cut to universal credit on low-income households in the borough.

With the furlough scheme having ended and with rising food prices, taxes and energy bills, ministers must urgently U-turn on this.

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