Surge in the number of crimes reported in Parliament

The number of threatening letters received by MPs has more than doubled since 2016 with concerns they are being increasingly targeted in connection with their views on Brexit.

Jul 1, 2019
By Tony Thompson

A total of 578 crimes were reported on the parliamentary estate in Westminster between 2016 and 2018, according to figures released by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) under a Freedom of Information Act submitted by Sky News.

There were 101 reports of letters being sent with the intent to cause distress in 2018 – more than double the figure for 2016 (39) and up from 72 reports in 2017.

Other offences during the past year included six reports of common assault, two of causing actual bodily harm, one of blackmail, one of cocaine possession, two of cannabis possession and one of drunk and disorderly behaviour.

Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi, who was the victim of a campaign of online harassment by a man who was later jailed, told Sky News it was “heartbreaking” to receive abuse and it had worsened since the Brexit vote.

“I’m sure this high spike is linked with the Brexit issue which has been very toxic,” she said.

House of Commons speaker John Bercow has announced he is drawing up plans to have MPs install CCTV cameras in their offices to protect staff from unwanted sexual advances and bullying, according to The Times.

The plans to tackle misconduct in Westminster, which could also include GPS-tracked alarms to record alleged assault, are being developed by the Speaker’s Office ahead of a report into inappropriate behaviour by MPs, which is being overseen by Gemma White, QC, and is expected in the coming weeks.

Earlier this year, more than 50 MPs wrote to MPS Commissioner Cressida Dick to express their “serious concerns” about the “deteriorating public order and security situation” outside Parliament.

The letter came after Tory MP Anna Soubry, a prominent Remain campaigner, was branded a “Nazi” by protesters during a live television interview.

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