Boris Johnson's comments comparing women who wear the burka to "bank robbers" and "letter boxes" would not "reach the bar" for a criminal offence, the head of the Metropolitan Police has said.
Commissioner Cressida Dick said "some people have clearly found it offensive" but that officers that specialise in dealing with hate crime believed "he did not commit a criminal offence".
She stressed no allegation had yet been received that the former foreign secretary committed a hate crime.
Speaking to the BBC's Asian Network, Ms Dick said: "I'm not a Muslim woman... I know that many people have found this offensive.
"I also know that many other people believe strongly that in the whole of the article, what Mr Johnson appears to have been attempting to do was say that there shouldn't be a ban - and that he was encouraging legitimate debate."