01/07/2019 07:54 BST | Updated 01/07/2019 08:04 BST

Crimes Reported In Parliament Up Almost 50% In Two Years

Cocaine and cannabis possession, robbery and assault were among the crimes reported on the parliamentary estate, Sky News revealed.

Crimes reported in parliament – including drug possession, blackmail and assault – were up 45% between 2016 and 2018, a Sky News investigation has revealed.

Some 578 crimes were reported in the last two years, figures released to the broadcaster by the Metropolitan Police under the Freedom of Information Act show.

The data revealed a jump in threatening letters being sent with the intent to cause distress last year, from 39 in 2016, to 101 in 2018. It comes amid fears MPs are being increasingly targeted due to their beliefs on Brexit.

The figures come as John Bercow is drawing up plans to have MPs install CCTV cameras in their offices to protect staff from unwanted sexual advances and bullying, The Times reported.

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

Overall, 236 crimes were reported on the parliamentary estate in 2018, up a third (32%) on 2017 and a 45% increase on 2016, when there were 163 reports.

The Metropolitan Police said it received four reports of harassment in 2018, four in 2017 and three in 2016. It follows allegations of sexual harassment and bullying which hit Westminster in 2017.

Other offences reported in 2018 include one of cocaine possession, two of cannabis possession, and six of common assault. 

In 2016 there was one report of false imprisonment, followed by one of stalking in 2017.

The murder of PC Keith Palmer who was killed in the 2017 Westminster terror attack was also reported.

Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi, a victim of online harassment by a man who was later jailed, told Sky News that the level of abuse had worsened since the Brexit vote three years ago.

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

“I mean our post bags and emails... we’re constantly being told, you’re not following the will of the people, you’re being traitors.”

The parliamentary estate includes the Palace of Westminster, in which the Houses of Parliament are located, and other properties which house MPs and their staff.