OK, here’s the story in brief. Nottinghamshire police have decided that wolf whistling at women is a hate crime.
Just to put this into context, that makes it on a par with crimes driven by race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or gender identity. Those are all very important, very serious. They deserve to be dealt with.
I don’t think some hairy-arsed builder or leering white van man fall into the same category. I have no doubt at all that blokes being a pain can be bloody irritating, but then again so can a bunch of pissed women on a hen night.
You may remember last year I blogged about a woman called Poppy Smart complaining to the rozzers about the builder who wolf whistled at her on a regular basis. They pretty much said, yes, annoying, but not a crime. Well now it is, at least in the utopia that Chief Constable Sue Fish is attempting to create in Nottinghamshire. They’ve already spent good money training officers and support staff. That money could probably been better spent.
What we’re not talking about here is sexually suggestive texting, or threatening email, or unsolicited dick pics, or stalking, or explicit uploads on YouTube. Those too are serious crimes, but are already covered by other legislation.
Then we have the problem of appropriate punishment. You can hardly bang people up for this, and even a fine seems a bit extreme to me. Some sort of social awareness workshop? If you’re a Neanderthal who hasn’t been brought up from birth to respect women, a couple of hours in a roomful other sweaty, like-minded throwbacks isn’t going to change a damned thing is it?
Then, enforcement. With the world as it is right now, with cybercrime on the rise, the ever present threat of terrorism, you know, all the big stuff, I reckon the plod have got quite enough on their plates.
Successive governments have ruthlessly slashed police budgets. Round here the boys in blue are so thin on the ground (they closed our local copshop last year) that they don’t always turn up even if you report a burglary. Do you really think they’re going to fall over themselves grabbing collars because of the stupid antics of an ill-mannered knuckledragger? I can’t see it.