Police must start taking misogyny more seriously to prevent more tragedies like the one in Plymouth, a senior prosecutor said, after a man who had regularly expressed his hatred of women killed five people and injured two more.
Nazir Afzal, who was previously the crown’s chief prosecutor for North West England, said Jake Davison should have been on a police watch list.
Davison, 22, killed his mother Thursday in the Keyham area of Plymouth before shooting four more people, including a three-year-old girl, and wounding two others.
The Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) launched an investigation into Davison’s possession of a shotgun and firearms license, which were returned to him in July after being removed last December following an assault charge against him. in September 2020.
Afzal said Davison was “exactly the type of person you would watch out for.” However, it appeared that his license was returned without analyzing his social media posts, which Afzal said painted the image of a man who thought women were “inferior beings.”
Afzal raised the perspective that extreme views about women could be treated as terrorism. “You have to think about how we deal with these men, and they are always men. What are they saying online, how are they radicalizing, who is doing the radicalization? “Afzal said on BBC Breakfast on Saturday.
“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 crimes available if it is treated as terrorism, but of course, as we currently know, that is not the intention of the government.”
The Plymouth gunman’s use of social media suggested a keen interest in the misogynistic culture of the “involuntary celibate” of men unable to engage in sex with women.
According to Jonathan Hall QC, the independent reviewer of the terrorism legislation, the government is likely to consider treating so-called “incels” as terrorists.
Hall told BBC Radio 4 Today: “The question is really whether or not the authorities want to treat the incel phenomenon as a terrorist risk. That would imply diverting resources or putting resources into it. If we see more such attacks, I have no doubt that it will be treated more seriously as terrorism. “
Afzal said: “We have now seen posts on various social media sites that paint the picture of someone who has a very low opinion or who has a very low opinion of women, who seemed to have the belief that he had the right to do what I’d like. , a real expectation that women were some kind of minor being.
“That kind of extreme misogyny of the kind that we’ve seen here and in terms of the incel community is a threat to all women and ultimately to all of our communities.”
Dozens of floral tributes were left outside a supermarket near where the shootings occurred. Green heart-shaped balloons bearing the names of the five victims – Maxine Davison, Lee Martyn, Sophie Martyn, Kate Shepherd and Stephen Washington – were tied to a nearby railing.
Nick Kelly, the leader of the Plymouth city council, said that the return of the gunman’s license would be key in the investigation of the shootings.
“It could be a broader issue at the national level in regards to more scrutiny of people receiving firearms because the last thing we want as a nation, or indeed as a city, is for anyone else to suffer and go through the horrible actions. And the loss. of five innocent lives and two people who have suffered serious injuries in the hospital. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism