Can wolf whistling be a hate crime?

Emery Johnson Astills consider the latest news from Nottinghamshire police.

Nottinghamshire police force have stated that it can be a ‘hate crime’ to wolf whistle. A ‘hate crime’ is any incident which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hatred.  So, for instance, if a man or a woman were walking down the street and they were wolf whistled at by builders working on a construction site, if they viewed this as unwanted verbal contact, then it could show that the builders are guilty of a hate crime and those builders could be prosecuted.


Officers and staff from Nottinghamshire police force have been undergoing ‘hate crime’ training in relation to behaviour such as wolf whistling which is targeted at women simply because they are female.


Some people are welcoming the new ‘hate crime’ whereas others feel that it is going too far to potentially prosecute people for this, and feel that it patronises women. Last year a building firm was investigated by police after a young woman complained about being wolf whistled at but the case was later dropped and the men were internally disciplined.  It seems that each case will need to be judged on its own basis and ultimately it will depend on the circumstances surrounding the incident but this new hate crime may pave the way for more prosecutions.


If you find yourself arrested for an offence of this nature, or any other offence Emery Johnson Astills Solicitors can help throughout the course of the proceedings, from the Police Station through to a Court Case. We offer professional legal advice and have extensive experience in this area of law.


Emery Johnson Astills are experts in criminal law, and we are able to assist 24 hours of the day whether at the police station or at Court. If you need advice or assistance from the criminal law department at Emery Johnson Astills, please contact us on 0116 255 4855.