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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 2:03 pm 
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This is an opinion piece, and maybe should have been in the politics section rather than here.

But for those not up to speed with this, the most interesting part of the following is not so much the hate *crime* stuff, but the hate *incidents* that police can record.

So it seems that if anyone takes offence at something you say or do, and they claim that it's based on things like disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, then they can report it to police.

And, as the quote from West Yorkshire Police makes clear, it could be just the way you look at someone, or say something that upsets them. And there's no need for any proof.

And police are duty bound to record it as a hate incident. No proof or anything like that is required, and if the complaint is against you then you won't even know about it, as far as I can tell.

But it could show up on a subsequent DBS check, or Disclosure Scotland up here.

This is a bit longer than the average article on here, so if pressed for time start reading at the paragraph beginning: "Hate crime’s little brother is a sub-category called “non-crime hate incidents..."


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 2:03 pm 
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Is hate always a crime?

https://unherd.com/2021/11/is-hate-always-a-crime/

The police shouldn't blindly trust self-appointed victims

BY Jenny McCartney

What gives the British police their power? The answer has always been us, the public. The first of the “general instructions” issued to recruits of the new Metropolitan Police service in 1829 was “to prevent crime and disorder.” But the second was “to recognise always that the power of police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect”.

That’s why the British police model is often referred to as one of “policing by consent”. The service is run with the blessing and co-operation of the public, rather than as an arm of the state. We know that the police regularly walk into situations which most of us would instinctively avoid, often showing great courage in difficult situations. A YouGov poll in October suggested that the police in general are positively viewed by the public, with 65% saying they trust them and 31% saying they don’t. But recent scandals have taken a toll on the specific reputation of one force in particular: only 33% of the British public say that they trust the Metropolitan police (although the figure is higher among Londoners, at 57%).

The Met’s standing has been damaged by Sarah Everard’s abduction and murder by Met officer Wayne Couzens, and the disgraceful conduct of two Met officers at the scene of the 2020 murders of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman. Much has been said about the need to root out so-called “bad apples” in the force, along with tackling persistent pockets of misogyny and racism. But our model of policing by consent faces another challenge. Recently, the police have been taking on powers that the bulk of the British public never asked for them to have.

What the public wants from the police — as a 2020 report from the Police Foundation think tank suggests — is pretty much what you’d expect: more visible policing on the street, and a focus on “sexual crime, violent crime, investigating serious crime, responding quickly to calls for help, tackling terrorism and taking action on organised crime”. In other words, we want the greatest energy focused on the crimes with the highest potential to devastate lives.

Of course, as the Strategic Review of Policing in England and Wales — set up to shape a “long term strategic direction for the police service” — acknowledges, a lot of crime has migrated from the streets to electronic highways. Fraud and computer misuse now make up 44% of all crime in England and Wales. The number of police officers in England and Wales, however, fell by 20,000 between 2010 and 2019. The government has promised 20,000 additional police officers by 2023, more than half of whom have now been recruited. Ideally, this should contribute to a more efficient police force with an enhanced presence on the streets. Add in more rigorous safeguards against bias and corruption, promised in the aftermath of this reputationally disastrous year, and it doesn’t seem unreasonable to hope for a new, improved force.

But there’s a problem: recent, fuzzily-framed powers are taking our police in a direction that the public — and many officers — clearly do not want. Instead of patrolling the pavements, officers are increasingly encouraged to patrol the finer nuances of legitimate public debate. At a recent football match, Crystal Palace fans unveiled a large banner criticising the Saudi-backed takeover of Newcastle United. It featured a bearded character clearly depicting the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, along with a trenchant critique of Saudi Arabia’s shocking record on human rights. Croydon police promptly tweeted that they had “received a report of an offensive banner displayed by Crystal Palace fans” warning that “any allegations of racist abuse will be taken very seriously.” A later tweet from them thankfully confirmed that “no offences have been committed”, something which most sane people could have recognised with one glance.

The argument over trans rights and women’s rights, too, has triggered lengthier but similarly doomed police investigations. One such case culminated in the bizarre 2019 prosecution of Miranda Yardley, a transsexual, for allegedly committing a transphobic hate crime online. The police investigation had been prompted by complaints against Yardley from a trans rights activist (who was not herself trans); the judge threw the case out after one day, awarding costs to the defendant. More recently, “gender-critical” feminist Marion Millar was charged under the Malicious Communications Act for potential hate crime. One of her offending tweets was reportedly a picture of a suffragette ribbon, which a complainant had argued was a noose. All charges were ultimately dropped. In both cases, the lengthy process to which the defendants were subjected was a punishment in itself.

Many of these threats to investigate, or unsuccessful charges, make the case that a “hate” crime has been committed — that is, an offence motivated by the plaintiff’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. (Ordinary crimes, it seems, take an equal opportunities approach.) Hate crime carries an enhanced sentence, but at least — since it involves an actual crime — it is bound by certain legal definitions.

Hate crime’s little brother is a sub-category called “non-crime hate incidents,” which can’t be prosecuted. For someone on the wrong end of an accusation, however, it can be very uncomfortable. Although the public collectively consents to the police holding power, we have little say as individuals in how that power is used over us. Police activity can be a factor in us losing our livelihoods or our liberty. And, despite not being a crime, a “non-crime hate incident” can go on your record and potentially show up on enhanced DBS checks. It might close off certain job opportunities. To better understand the offence, I turned to the West Yorkshire police website, where the Hate Crime Co-ordinator PC Emma Harrison explains it via video:

"A hate incident can be any incident that the victim or any other person perceives to have happened to a person as a result of their faith, their race, their sexual orientation, their disability. It doesn’t have to be a criminal offence. As the definition says it can be any incident, so it can be perhaps just the way that somebody looks at you or it might be something that somebody says to you that might upset you. It literally can be anything at all that you feel is there as a result of something about you, something very personal to you, it might be the colour of your skin, it might be a disability that you have, and it doesn’t even need to be a disability that can be seen.”

Around 120,000 such offences were recorded between 2014, when the College of Policing brought in the “non-crime hate incident” guidance, and 2019. Of course, it is often sensible for police to keep records of especially upsetting or threatening behaviour that nevertheless misses the threshold for criminal prosecution. But the net here is cast extremely wide, and could easily include a legitimate personal opinion that someone else simply doesn’t like. The “non-crime hate incident” exists entirely in the perception of the allegedly aggrieved party.

It seems chilling that “any incident” — including “perhaps just the way that somebody looks at you” — can potentially land an individual with a police record, not least because “looks” are frequently open to misinterpretation. If you are deemed the perpetrator, there is currently no evidential means by which you can overturn the ruling, save for an expensive and drawn-out judicial review. As the former director of public prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, wrote recently: “This power has real world consequences. We need hardly imagine what an HR manager would make of a job applicant with a police history of hate.”

A world in which self-described victims cannot be challenge is a dangerous one. The police’s desire to semaphore its wholehearted belief in the testimony of alleged victims, before investigating any actual evidence, was a key factor in the Met’s catastrophic Operation Midland. For nearly a year and a half, they pursued a highly energetic investigation into an alleged VIP sex ring on the basis of luridly fabricated evidence from the fantasist and paedophile Carl Beech, anonymised as “Nick”. His allegations resulted in the baseless persecution of both a former Home Secretary, Lord Brittan, and a former Chief of the Defence Staff, Lord Bramall.

One of the glaring mistakes of that investigation occurred when one senior officer abandoned all rules of due process publicly to declare “Nick’s” allegations “credible and true”. They were both incredible and false. The assertion flew directly in the face of the eighth “general instruction” of British policing: that police should “refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.”

Leon Brittan died in 2015 without knowing his name had been cleared. The usual apologies were made by Dame Cressida Dick. And yet the same principle of “guilty if accused” has somehow been allowed to spread quietly in the thicket of “non-crime hate incidents.”

It is a tenet of our democracy that other people are allowed to say things with which we do not agree, and might even find offensive. The mission creep of the UK police force — which now risks effectively handing out police records to a growing pool of law-abiding citizens — is worrisome not only for the public at large, but also for the force itself. And it comes at a bad time: in what should be serious cause for concern, the October YouGov poll mentioned earlier also found that more people (48%) were now “unconfident” of the police’s ability to solve crime in their local area than were “confident” (43%).

If the general public sees more individuals being hounded and investigated for opinions which many of them may hold, while the conviction rate for high-harm offences such as knife crime and rape remains dismal, they may well conclude that the police service is no longer set up to serve the best interests of ordinary citizens.

That bodes ill for the co-operative model which has broadly served the UK well for so long. The best of police officers understand this instinctively, as did the “general instructions” from 1829, which saw much of this coming, in rule five, which says that the force should “seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion; but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law.”


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 2:06 pm 
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Quote:
More recently, “gender-critical” feminist Marion Millar was charged under the Malicious Communications Act for potential hate crime. One of her offending tweets was reportedly a picture of a suffragette ribbon, which a complainant had argued was a noose. All charges were ultimately dropped.

This is apparently one of the tweets that Marion Millar was prosecuted over - a suffragette ribbon posted near the River City studios. River City is a sort of Scottish Eastenders or Coronation Street :-s

Image


This is the River City actor David Paisley who complained about the tweet :-o

Image


Another complainant was a Glasgow taxi licensing councillor :shock:

Of course, it seems that charges were ultimately dropped, but only after a long and drawn out process, and at least one court appearance, and the accused was represented by Joanna Cherry QC MP.

So in effect the 'punishment' is the process of charging, court appearences and all that goes with it, even though the whole thing is eventually dropped.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 8:47 pm 
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I don't actually worry too much about all of this.

If someone makes a hate crime complaint then the police are duty-bound to investigate it.

If the complaint is upheld then it goes to court or a caution is issued, if the report isn't upheld then that's it.

I suspect this mass of details being held are details where the alleged perpetrator is unknown.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 3:14 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
I suspect this mass of details being held are details where the alleged perpetrator is unknown.

Think it's a bit more than that. I mean, no doubt in some cases the perpetrator is unknow, but if these 'hate incidents' appear on a DBS check then the perpetrator must be known.

Seems to be more about an incident where it doesn't reach the criminal threshold rather than the perpetrator being unknown.

But that's the thing - it can be recorded on someone's record without any need for proof or proportionality, and the complainant can effectively do it anonymously, and even if it's recorded on your record you might not even get to know about it :?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 6:53 pm 
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The more instances of offended wokes reporting everything, everybody and anything they take umbridge too as being a hate crime against against them the more the thicker skinned non wokes will actually hate them for making a complaint against them and thus causing the whole pathetic hate crime law to become counter productive......you can't change how people react to each others comments by simply making it a punishable offence.

I'll say my peace and if they don't like it tough....but that's not to say it was a deliberate hate crime just because I said it.

Britain has become a laughing stock in the eyes of the world due to this daft wokery.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 7:28 pm 
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WTF is a tweet

and a woke?

or snowflake?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 9:06 pm 
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Quote:
Think it's a bit more than that. I mean, no doubt in some cases the perpetrator is unknow, but if these 'hate incidents' appear on a DBS check then the perpetrator must be known.

But do they appear on a DBS check?

They most certainly don't appear on criminal PNC checks.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2021 6:41 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
Quote:
Think it's a bit more than that. I mean, no doubt in some cases the perpetrator is unknow, but if these 'hate incidents' appear on a DBS check then the perpetrator must be known.

But do they appear on a DBS check?

They most certainly don't appear on criminal PNC checks.

But the point is that they'd have to be a criminal offence to appear on PNC checks?

And one fundamental aspect of a DBS check (particularly an enhanced one) is that it discloses stuff recorded by police that aren't criminal offences? So police record hate *indicents* rather than stuff that doesn't reach the threshold for an *offence*.

Anyways, hot off the press...


Campaigners hail landmark victory for free speech after Court of Appeal rules College of Policing's definition of a 'hate incident' is unlawful and had 'chilling effect' on ex-police officer's freedom of expression in trans tweets row

    • Harry Miller approached by Humberside Police over alleged 'transphobic' tweets
    • Challenged force and College of Policing for deeming them a 'hate incident'
    • The judge ruled guidance unlawfully interferes with freedom of expression

A former police officer has won a Court of Appeal challenge over police guidance on 'hate incidents' after claiming it unlawfully interferes with the right to freedom of expression.

Harry Miller, a former officer who describes himself as 'gender critical', was approached by colleagues at Humberside Police over alleged transphobic tweets in January 2020.

The force recorded the complaint as a 'non-crime hate incident', defined by the College of Policing's guidance as 'any non-crime incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice'.

It is not known what was in the tweets, which were later deleted, though he is known to have retweeted a poem which included the line: 'Your vagina goes nowhere'.

Mr Miller, from Lincolnshire, challenged both Humberside Police's actions and the College of Policing's guidance at the High Court and, in February last year, a judge ruled the force's actions were a 'disproportionate interference' with Mr Miller's right to freedom of expression.

But his challenge to the College of Police's guidance was dismissed, with the judge finding that it 'serves legitimate purposes and is not disproportionate'.

However, in a new ruling, the Court of Appeal found the guidance also breached his freedom of expression rights.

Dame Victoria Sharp said: 'The net for 'non-crime hate speech' is an exceptionally wide one which is designed to capture speech which is perceived to be motivated by hostility... regardless of whether there is evidence that the speech is motivated by such hostility.

'The volume of non-crime hate speech is enormous and the police do not have the resources or the capacity to investigate all the complaints that are made.

'There is nothing in the guidance about excluding irrational complaints, including those where there is no evidence of hostility and little, if anything, to address the chilling effect which this may have on the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression.

'There is no provision for proportionality to be applied to recording [the incident]. And the guidance says nothing about the language to be used or whether someone should be notified that a record, flagged as a hate incident, has been made of a complaint against them.'

Speaking outside court, Mr Miller said being offensive was 'one of the cornerstones of freedom'.

'Being offensive is not, cannot and should not be an offence,' he said.

'Only when speech turns to malicious communication or targeted harassment against an individual should it be a problem.'

Speaking earlier to Talk Radio, he said: 'These people [College of Policing] are complete and utter idiots. They went all through the High Court trying to argue that there's such a thing as a non-crime, crime and non-hate, hate. They need shutting down.

'The consequences are far reaching. Up until today, a non-crime hate incident could appear on your record and police could send it to your employer to prevent you from getting a job or a promotion.

'This is a great day for British democracy and freedom. We have kicked it out the park.'

An anonymous member of the public complained about Mr Miller's tweets, leading to Humberside Police recording the complaint as a 'hate incident' in January 2020.

Mr Miller challenged Humberside Police's actions and the College of Policing guidance at the High Court.

He was successful in his battle against the force, with the court ruling Humberside Police's actions were a 'disproportionate interference' to his right to freedom of expression.

Mr Miller was unsuccessful in an additional challenge to the College of Policing, though, after it was found its guidance 'serves legitimate purposes and is not disproportionate'.

In March, Mr Miller's lawyers told the Court of Appeal that police guidance over hate incidents 'violates the right to freedom of expression'.

Lawyers for the College of Policing, meanwhile, argued any interference with the right to freedom of expression 'is proportionate to the legitimate aims pursued by the guidance'.

The court heard guidance had been 'fully replaced', with updates including 'a strong warning against police taking a disproportionate response to reports of a non-crime hate incident', including directly referencing the High Court's ruling.

Dame Victoria, though, said today: 'In my opinion [the revisions] do not go very far or not nearly far enough to address the chilling effect of perception-based recording more generally.'

Assistant Chief Constable Iain Raphael, College of Policing said today: 'Freedom of expression within the law is a fundamental right which should be protected. Policing strives every day to protect the vulnerable from harm, uphold fundamental rights and enforce the law.

'The College of Policing supports this work through setting standards and sharing knowledge that helps forces and individuals provide better service to the public.

'Complaints of hate are often complex and our guidance seeks to help officers understand how best to do a difficult part of their job.

'The balance we have always aimed to strike is between the need to protect vulnerable people and communities from harm with the need to facilitate and protect freedom of speech.

'The court has found we need to make safeguards in our guidance more explicit to help police officers proportionately enforce the law. We will listen to, reflect on, and review this judgement carefully and make any changes that are necessary.

'The judgement provides clarity that police have the power to record, retain and use a wide variety of data and information to keep people safe.

'By recording correctly, the police can gain insight into potential tensions in communities and harm caused to individuals. All police guidance is kept under continual review and is adapted to keep pace with the complex demands of protecting the public.'

In a statement following, Free Speech Union general secretary Toby Young praised the Mr Miller's 'courage and tenacity'.

He said: 'The Free Speech Union is proud to have played a part in winning this landmark victory, but the lion's share of the credit must go to Harry Miller.

'Thanks to his courage and tenacity, we can all rest a little easier in our beds tonight, knowing the police are not about to knock on our doors because we've made an inappropriate joke on Twitter. They should be policing our streets, not our tweets.'

Following last year's victory over Humberside Police, a judge described the force's actions as having a 'substantial chilling effect' on Mr Miller's right to free speech.

Announcing the court's decision, Mr Justice Julian Knowles said Mr Miller's tweets were 'lawful' and that the effect of the police turning up at Mr Miller's place of work 'because of his political opinions must not be underestimated'.

He added: 'To do so would be to undervalue a cardinal democratic freedom. In this country we have never had a Cheka, a Gestapo or a Stasi. We have never lived in an Orwellian society.'

In April, Home Secretary Priti Patel said allegations of hate incidents should be wiped from an individual's record if no crime is found to have been committed.

A Home Office source said: 'These so-called 'non-crime hate incidents' have a chilling effect on free speech and potentially stop people expressing views legally and legitimately.

'If people are found to have done nothing wrong the police shouldn't punish them.'

In February last year, police said they had recorded almost 120,000 'non-crime hate incidents' between 2014 and 2019.

South Wales police were found to have logged the highest number of 'hate incidents' with 13,856 cases.

Metropolitan Police logged over 9,000 in the same time period.

What are 'non-crime hate incidents' and what will happen to them after today's ruling?

Non-crime hate incident reports were introduced in 2014 following recommendations by the independent Macpherson Inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

They are 'any non-crime incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice', according to the College of Policing's guidance on hate crimes.

Reports of non-crime hate incidents can show up in criminal record checks for six years, yet there are no grounds to appeal against them.

Judge Victoria Sharp has now ordered the College of Policing to come up with new 'safeguards' to make sure that any future recording of non-crime hate incidents does not disproportionately interfere with the legal right to speak their mind.

This means non-crime hate incidents will still exist but the guidance around their use will be tightened.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2021 6:42 pm 
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Final sentence there suggests it's still not entirely clear what will happen to these non-crime incidents once they're logged, but of the above this is particularly interesting:

Court of Appeal judge Dame Victoria Sharp wrote:
'The net for 'non-crime hate speech' is an exceptionally wide one which is designed to capture speech which is perceived to be motivated by hostility... regardless of whether there is evidence that the speech is motivated by such hostility.

'The volume of non-crime hate speech is enormous and the police do not have the resources or the capacity to investigate all the complaints that are made.

'There is nothing in the guidance about excluding irrational complaints, including those where there is no evidence of hostility and little, if anything, to address the chilling effect which this may have on the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression.

'There is no provision for proportionality to be applied to recording [the incident]. And the guidance says nothing about the language to be used or whether someone should be notified that a record, flagged as a hate incident, has been made of a complaint against them.'


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2021 7:51 pm 
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For an Appeal Court Judge to say the police's actions have a 'substantial chilling effect' is quite a thing.

Looks like the police, or the police's top bods guidance, are more interested in political correctness than freedom of speech, and well done to the court for judicially wagging their fingers at them. [-X

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