Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has signalled that ministers believe there is no need for a new law to make the pestering of women such as wolf-whistling at them on the street a criminal offence.
The Daily Telegraph reported that a review this week by the Law Commission will call for “public sexual harassment” and inciting hatred against women to be made specific offences.
However, Mr Raab told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show: “We have got very strong laws already in place to make sure any intimidation or harassment of women anywhere in our society is dealt with and addressed.
“It is already a criminal offence.
“I think we have got to be very careful that we enforce the laws that we have already got.
The commission’s review of hate crimes was originally ordered three years ago by Sajid Javid when he was home secretary.
The issue has since become the focus of intense public interest following the murder of Sarah Everard by Wayne Couzens, a serving Metropolitan Police officer, which led to a national debate on violence against women.
The proposal for a new offence of public sexual harassment was warmly welcomed by campaigners who had been pressing to greater protection for women and girls.