Threats against MPs reach 'unprecedented' levels, police chiefs reveal
Threats against MPs have reached record levels in the wake of the Brexit referendum, police chiefs have revealed.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said the number of crimes reported by MPs more than doubled in 2018 from 151 to 342 and were set to rise again this year.
She told the Joint Committee on Human Rights that female MPs and those from eithnic minorities were the worst hit by abuse.
“We do believe that the current context, in our policing time at least, is unprecedented,” she explained.
“What we are seeing is polarised opinions having a big impact on the scale and impact of protest activity."
She added that the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox during the 2016 EU referendum campaign had led to an “extraordinary set of circumstances” and soaring levels of harassment and abuse.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu meanwhile said Brexit was a “huge driver” in the boost in incidents - with pro- and anti-Leave MPs targeted equally.
MPs and staff have reported 152 crimes so far this year and over 600 incidents.
Ministers are planning a new law that will create a specific offence of intimidating parliamentary candidates or campaigners during the run-up to an election.
Just this week police launched an investigation into Ukip MEP candidate Carl Benjamin after he said he might rape Labour MP Jess Philips if pressured to do so.