Labour MPs have spoken to Leicestershire police after Stella Creasy expressed concern about how the force was “dealing with crimes against women” in response to their handling of her harassment case.
Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow secretary of state for work and pensions, and Liz Kendall, the shadow health secretary, spoke to police after Creasy criticised their handling of a harassment case against a troll who made a baseless complaint about her to social services.
Creasy was investigated by her local council after it received a report from a man living in Leicestershire who told it her “extreme views” on gender equality would damage her children and they should be removed from her care.
The Walthamstow MP has been a prominent campaigner on misogyny, violence against women, and her right to be allowed to bring her breastfeeding baby into parliament with her.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday, Creasy said: “Given the attitudes expressed by the senior police officer dealing with the case, I’m very worried now about how Leicestershire police might be dealing with crimes against women full stop and violence against women.”
A man, who went by the alias Lance Jones, contacted Waltham Forest council in east London with the complaint about Creasy, the Times reported.
The council’s panel, which includes experts from agencies such as social services, police and local schools, carried out a safeguarding review in November. The complaint was quickly dismissed and the panel contacted Creasy out of concern that Jones may present a risk to her family.
Parliamentary police investigated, Creasy said, but when it was found the man lived in Leicestershire the case was passed to his local force.
The force said the offence had not reached the threshold for a harassment offence. Creasy disputes this, telling the Today programme that the force said in emails what she had faced was harassment.
Speaking over the weekend, Creasy said the police response had given the “green light to targeting the children of politicians if you don’t agree with them”.
Creasy was particularly scathing about Leicestershire police’s treatment of the case. She says the force told her that her harasser was “legally entitled to express concerns to social care”.
Earlier this year, Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, mentioned Leicestershire police in the House of Commons after the publication of the Casey report into the culture of the Metropolitan police, commissioned after Sarah Everard’s murder.
Cooper said: “The failure to root out officers who have been involved in domestic abuse and sexual assault also applies in other forces. The failure to tackle culture has gone wrong in other forces too. Problems in Gwent, Hampshire, Police Scotland, Sussex, Leicestershire and more.
“It is a disgrace that there still are not mandatory requirements on vetting and training underpinned by law, that misconduct systems are still too weak.”
In response, Det Supt Chris Baker, Leicestershire police lead for violence against women and girls, told LeicestershireLive: “Now more than ever, it is vital that women and girls have the confidence in us to come forward and report crime knowing that they will be listened to and supported with empathy, sensitivity and compassion and that action will be taken to deal with perpetrators and keep them safe.”
In May 2021, the force said one person had been charged with committing a misogynistic hate crime throughout 2020 and 2021 so far, while 32 misogynistic hate crimes were recorded in the same period.