JUSTICE Secretary Keith Brown has said he does not agree with the Prime Minister ruling out misogyny as a hate crime.

The Prime Minister told the BBC that he does not support making misogyny a hate crime because it would overload the police and that forces need to focus on “real crimes”.

Boris Johnson has come under fire from the comments, amid discussions around policing crimes against women in the aftermath of the sentencing of Sarah Everard’s killer.

However, in Holyrood today, Scotland’s Justice Secretary stated that he disagreed with the Prime Minister.

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There is currently a working group underway looking specifically at misogyny, headed by Baroness Kennedy, and whether or not a standalone offence under Scotland’s hate crime act is required.

Brown said the Scottish Government will act “swiftly” on the group’s recommendations, due to be released in February 2022.

During an interview with the BBC, Johnson said: "I think that what we should do is prosecute people for crimes that we have on the statute book.

"I think, to be perfectly frank, if you simply widen the scope of what you ask the police to do you'll just increase the problem.

"What you need to do is get the police to focus on the very real crimes, the very real feeling of injustice and betrayal that many people feel."

In Holyrood this afternoon LibDem MSP Beatrice Wishart lodged a topical question on what public sector agencies such as the Scottish Government, Police Scotland and the Crown Office are taking to “increase efforts to ensure women are protected from harassment and violence”.

Brown said: “We strengthened our laws to tackle sexual violence, threatening or abusive behaviour, non-consensual sharing of images and domestic abuse.

“However, recent tragic cases and the experience of far too many women show that more needs to be done.

“We will therefore consider very carefully the recommendation from Baroness Kennedy’s independent working group on misogyny, acting swiftly on its advice.

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“And I welcome Police Scotland’s message that the onus is on them to provide reassurance to women and their new lone police officer verification process in that regard is very welcome.”

SNP MSP Karen Adam then asked what the Scottish Government is doing to “tackle misogynistic behaviour”.

In response, Brown said: “As I said women and girls in Scotland should feel safe on our streets and public places and that includes online spaces as well.

The National:

Johnson made the comments during media rounds ahead of the third day of the Tory party conference

"That’s why we’ve set up an independent working group on misogyny and criminal justice, chaired by Baroness Kennedy, to independently consider how the Scottish criminal justice system currently deals with misogynistic conduct.

"And if there are gaps in the law that are required to be remedied. The group is also looking at whether to add the characteristic of sex to the hate crime and public order Scotland Act.”

Setting out that the group is looking at a survey, academic research and presentations from third sector agencies, Brown said it will be ready to report in February 2022.

He added: “I would not agree with the Prime Minister that it’s possible at this stage to rule out the need for a standalone offence for misogyny.”