POLICE forces have been asked to record crimes motivated by hostility based on their sex or gender, The Northern Echo can reveal.

Campaigners believe it could be the first step to making misogyny a hate crime – though Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this week that he did not support the calls.

The National Police Chiefs' Council confirmed the Home Office had written to police forces asking them, on an experimental basis, to record and identify any crimes of violence against the person including stalking and harassment and sexual offences, where the victim perceives it to have been motivated by a hostility based on their sex.

It comes amid renewed calls to make misogyny a hate crime, which campaigners say would make police and courts recognise and tackle the cause of existing crimes faced by women.

About a quarter of police forces are thought to already record where crimes are motivated by sex or gender.

North Yorkshire Police is one of the few forces in the country to have published its own "misogyny hate crime" policy, which was introduced in 2017.

Since then, a handful of cases have been reported each year. According to figures published in response to a Freedom of Information request eight misogyny based hate crimes were recorded that year, increasing to 10 in 2018.

In 2019 seven incidents were reported and there were four reported in 2020.

Over the four years, four of the reports resulted in charges, while eight resulted in no further action and 17 had a blank outcome.

Seventeen of those incidents were public order offences, eight were violence against the person, three were sexual offences and one was recorded as "miscellaneous crimes against society".

Durham Police has been recording whether a hate crime is gender-based for a number of years, a spokesman for the force said.

He added: "We record and identify all hate crimes reported to Durham Constabulary and, as part of that process, we flag whether that offence is gender-based.

"We are aware of a national review taking place to agree a common approach to this issue and we await the outcome of that work to inform future recording practices.

"Meanwhile, we would urge anyone who has suffered hate crime to contact us and we will take action to bring the offenders to justice."

Cleveland Police said it would be looking at the issue of recording misogyny as a hate crime as part of its wider work tackling violence against women and girls. 

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: "At this moment in time misogyny isn't classed as a hate crime in Cleveland, however, this will be looked at as part of our wider work around violence against women and girls."

Currently, the law only recognises hate crimes based on race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender identity.

If misogyny was classed as a hate crime it would give judges the ability to increase the punishment.

Mr Johnson said this week there was "abundant" existing legislation to tackle violence against women. 

The NPCC said it is awaiting further guidance from the Home Office on how recording should be done and is also waiting for the government’s response to the upcoming Law Commission Review, which is considering including misogyny as a hate crime.

A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs' Council said: "The Home Office has asked police forces, on an experimental basis, to record and identify any crimes of violence against the person including stalking and harassment and sexual offences, where the victim perceives it to have been motivated by a hostility based on their sex.

"We are waiting for further guidance from the Home Office on how this recording should be done. We are also waiting for the government’s response to the upcoming Law Commission Review, which is considering including misogyny as a hate crime.

"A number of police forces already record misogyny or gender-based hostility as a hate crime."

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