Police should work to tackle burglary and violent crimes, rather than focus on perceived offences, a top Police chief has said.
Chief Constable Sara Thornton said police forces “do not have the resources to do everything”, and should not have to deal with ‘hate incidents’ where no crime has been committed.
Her comments come as the Law Commission begins its review into existing hate crime laws, and considers if more offences should be added.
Thornton, who is Chairwoman of the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC), called for a “refocus on core policing” at a joint conference between the NPCC and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.
She said the public rightly expects the police to be “responding to emergencies, investigating and solving crime and neighbourhood policing”.
She added: “I want us to solve more burglaries and bear down on violence before we make more records of incidents that are not crimes.”
“I hope that the Law Commission’s review on hate crime takes account of the pressure on forces before suggesting the law is changed.”
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick backed Thornton’s comments, saying: “In my view, we should be focussing on the things that the public tell me they care about most.”
She said: “My officers are very busy, they are very stretched. We have young people in London subject to gang violence, getting involved in drug dealing, stabbings, lots and lots of priorities.”
Former Home Secretary Amber Rudd similarly hit out at the move to increase the number of hate crimes.
She said it would divert police away from their “number one priority” of tackling violent crime.
Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang
In 2009, hate crime laws were used against Christian hoteliers Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang over a conversation about Islam with a guest.
The couple was supported by The Christian Institute and case was ultimately dismissed by the courts.