Capitol police reveal 107% increase in threats against Congress members

·2 min read
<p>Violent protesters gather outside the US Capitol in Washington on 6 January, 2021</p> (AP)

Violent protesters gather outside the US Capitol in Washington on 6 January, 2021


The United States Capitol Police (USCP) has revealed there has been more than a 100 per cent increase in threats made against members of Congress this year in comparison to 2020.

The department shared the statistics in response to a report on the findings from the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) regarding USCP’s counter-surveillance and ability to assess threats.

“As the department has previously reported, the number of threats made against Congress has increased significantly,” the release reads.

They added: “This year alone, there has been a 107 per cent increase in threats against members compared to 2020.”

The department said that given the “unique threat environment we currently live in” they only expect the number of cases of threats against members “will continue to increase”.

The OIG’s recent report, first obtained by CBS News, reportedly found the USCP did not have “adequate resources” to manage escalating risks against the Capitol and those within its walls.

The evaluation is the third in a sequence of analyses from the OIG’s inspector general, Michael Bolton, in response to the 6 January insurrection.

CNN reported that the watchdog will testify its contents next week.

On 6 January 2021, pro-Trump rioters breached the Capitol, vandalising federal property and threatening lawmakers in a bid to prevent the certification of the 2020 election result.

As violent protesters stormed the building, Capitol police were quickly overwhelmed by the mob, and lawmakers were forced to evacuate. Five people died during the riots including a Capitol police officer.

In the wake of the attack, federal officials were forced to consider the effectiveness of the safety measures surrounding the US Capitol and its landmarks, with the national guard called in to oversee Joe Biden’s inauguration.

And following the insurrection, ahead of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, numerous members of Congress faced disturbing threats, the Associated Press reported.

CBS News said that the report showed the number of cases of threat cases increased from 171 in 2017 to 586 in 2020 and has surpassed 200 by the end of March this year.

It also reportedly said that the police department should have a “dedicated counter-surveillance unit” to “identify and disrupt individuals or groups intent on engaging in illegal activity directed at the Congressional Community and its legislative process”.

The USPC said that to be able to “fully implement this recommendation” they would require “additional resources for new employees, training, and vehicles as well as approval from Congressional stakeholders”.

The USCP said that “all recommended policy updates are being completed to reflect current practices and reference proper office names and equipment.

“Since the events of 6 January, USCP leadership team has been working closely with Congressional oversight to seek the needed resources to implement the OIG’s recommendations, as well as those from other reviews and assessments,” they said.

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