Police urged to take misogyny more seriously after Plymouth shooting
There are also calls for the government to treat 'incels' as terrorists
A top prosecutor has called on the police to take misogyny more seriously, in the wake of the horrifying shooting carried out by Jake Davison in Plymouth on Thursday.
Davison killed five people, including his mother and three-year-old girl, in a gun attack in Plymouth. It has since emerged that the 22-year-old had posted videos online expressing his hatred for women and often referencing 'incels,' a misogynistic culture of men who are unable to form sexual relationships with women and blame them for it.
Nazir Afzal, who was previously chief crown prosecutor for north-west England, said that because of Davison's misogynistic beliefs and views he should have been on a police watchlist.
He told BBC Breakfast: "You have got to think about how we deal with these men, and they are always men. What are they saying online, how are they being radicalised, who is doing the radicalisation?
"If you treat it as terrorism then you have other options open to you in terms of intelligence gathering, in terms of being able to prosecute for disseminating materials, in terms of being able to hold them to account if they are conspiring with each other.
"So, there are other potential offences available if you treat it as terrorism, but of course as we currently know that’s not what the government’s intention is."
He added that Davison's social media history painted a "picture of somebody that has a very low opinion or had a very low opinion of women, who seemed to have a belief he was entitled to do whatever he wanted to, a real expectation that women were some kind of lesser being."
A key question that local police in Plymouth are facing is how Davison was allowed to legally possess a firearm and license. He had both stripped from him in December 2020, before they were returned in July this year.
The police watchdog have launched an investigation into the matter, along with looking into whether the force had any information on Davison's mental health.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Hall QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation in the UK, has said that the government are likely to consider treating so-called "incels" as terrorists.
He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "The question is really whether or not the authorities want to treat the incel phenomenon as a terrorist risk.
"That would involve diverting resources or putting resources into it. If we see more of these sorts of attacks, then I have got no doubt that it will be treated more seriously as terrorism."
On Friday evening, a candle-lit vigil was held in the local Plymouth community to remember the five victims of the shooting.