Norfolk's would-be police boss slammed for 'sexist and racist' comments

Police and crime commissioner candidate, David Moreland. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Police and crime commissioner candidate, David Moreland. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A candidate to be Norfolk's next police boss has been branded "completely unsuitable" for the role after making "archaic" comments about migrants and women.

David Moreland, an ex Metropolitan Police officer, is an independent candidate to be the police and crime commissioner.

When asked what action he would like to see in the county to help protect women after the murder of Sarah Everard in London, the former UKIP MP candidate made shocking - and unsubstantiated - claims about migrants.

He said: “The vast majority of these sexual attacks on women across the country are carried out by migrants, many of them are illegal - African or ethnic minority people."

He added: "It's not just black people, obviously they are involved in it.

"We've got white people as well, but basically, it is not British. The vast majority [of attackers] are not British, they are migrants that are coming to this country." 

Asked where his information came from, Mr Moreland said you “just have to go onto social media” or talk to the police, calling it an "absolute fact”. 

Data on the ethnicity of sexual offenders is limited, however, 2017 data from the Ministry of Justice shows the majority of defendants for rape and sexual assault were white

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In total, 6,872 defendants were white, the next largest category was ‘not stated’ at 2,405, followed by 842 black and 835 Asian.  

Mr Moreland then turned his thoughts to attitudes towards women, saying: “You know in in the old days, blokes used to work on building sites and they would whistle down to a girl walking past, and you know most of the girls would say 'Oh, thank you, thank you for thinking I'm good looking,' but nowadays it's getting very, very dangerous out there."  

Mr Moreland also said that he rejected Boris Johnson's suggestion of recruiting 40pc of new officers from black or minority backgrounds, instead believing they should be veterans. 

He said he was not "in any way, shape or form racist".

Natasha Harpley

Natasha Harpley, councillor for Sprowston Central, has been campaigning in recent years to make sending "dick pics" illegal - Credit: Natasha Harpley

He said: "My brother married a Muslim girl, I've got a Muslim sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, I grew up with West Indian kids in London and they were fantastic." 

Responding to Mr Moreland's comments about women saying "thanks" when wolf-whistled, Broadland district councillor Natasha Harpley, 41, who has experienced sexual assault, said she could not believe people were still making those sorts of comments.

"That is just such an archaic thing to say, I'm really lost for words about this.

"It's just another case of treating women like they're there for men's consumption. His view is that women should be flattered? No. We are not here to decorate the planet, we are not a cheap thrill.

"No one wanting that position should be holding those views, it makes him completely unsuitable."

Janet Dalrymple, chief executive of Safe Places, described Mr Moreland's comments as staggering and said they did not "accord with our experience or the published facts including from the Metropolitan Police.

"To use Mr Moreland's term, the 'absolute fact' is the vast majority of sexual abuse occurs between people who know each other - partners, family members, other friends and acquaintances. Indeed there is evidence that points to a higher rate of sexual violence perpetration amongst white men compared to those of other ethnicities." 

Ms Dalrymple echoed Ms Harpley's comments, saying: "Harassment on the streets was not funny then and it's not funny now."

She added: "Mr Moreland is correct - it is 'very, very dangerous out there' - for victims. And it is made more so when misinformation and out of date and sexist and racist opinions are propagated, getting in the way of dealing properly with the real challenges that the police and those of us who work with victims grapple with every day."