The police will be banned from recording non-crime hate incidents because someone is offended

The police will be banned from recording non-crime hate incidents because someone is offended

Suella Braverman supports new guidelines that require officers to prioritize freedom of expression – Leon Neal/PA

Police are prevented from recording Non-criminal hate incidents occur simply because someone is offendedUnder the plan announced by Suella Braverman on Monday.

The Home Secretary has backed new guidelines which require officers to prioritize freedom of expression over offensive, controversial or derogatory language that offends people.

will be limited to officers Recording only incidents motivated by deliberate hostility and creates a real risk of escalation into significant damages.

It aims to reduce the number of non-criminal hate incidents which have recorded 120,000 people in the past five years. These include “trivial” cases such as a man in Bedfordshire who ended up with a police file for whistling the theme tune to his neighbour’s Bob the Builder, who suffered racial hatred.

The new guidelines drawn up by the College of Policing follow the case of Harry Miller, a retired policeman who won a free-speech battle after visiting his local force for tweeting about transgender rights. The Court of Appeal gave this verdict Police action violated his human rights.

Ms Braverman said: “I am deeply concerned by reports of the wrongful involvement of the police in legal disputes in this country. We have made it clear that when recording so-called non-crime hate incidents, officers must always have freedom of expression at the forefront of their minds.

“The new code will ensure that the police are prioritizing their efforts where it is really needed and focusing on tackling serious crimes such as theft, violent crime, rape and other sex crimes.”

In the 40-page guidelines, police are asked to use their “common sense” and “judgment” to only record non-criminal hate incidents where it is “proportionate” and “necessary” to do so and not to do so. Limiting freedom of expression.

Officers are advised to find common sense reasons for not recording an incident if the complaint is frivolous, frivolous or malicious.

The guidance cites the case of a person who tweeted their belief that a person’s biological sex is more important than self-identified sex, and should take priority when decisions are made about access to single-sex spaces.

When handling a police complaint about it, officers were told it would not be recorded as a non-criminal hate incident because “opinions are an example of a person using their freedom of expression to outline personally held beliefs”.

“A reasonable person would accept the discussion as a contribution to a legitimate debate, even if they find it offensive or disagree with it,” the guidelines say.

‘Chilling effect on free speech’

Police are urged to make “all efforts to avoid a chilling effect on free speech (including but not limited to legitimate debate, jokes, satire and personally held opinions)”.

The guidelines cite as examples of racial-abuse allegations against social influencers making “one-liner” jokes on identity-based stereotypes. As there was no evidence of intent to incite hatred or target any individual, it would be disproportionate to infringe on their freedom of expression, officers advised.

To reduce bureaucracy, officials are advised to record incidents without naming individuals or to conduct lengthy investigations to identify them, without the risk of significant damage if a comment is proven to be motivated by hostility.

The guidelines cited the example of a heterosexual clubber leaving a venue with LGBT friends and verbally abusing them. Simply recording the incident without personal information may avoid wasting police time investigating but will identify the need for increased police presence in the future to prevent recurrence.

Greater Manchester Chief Constable Stephen Watson said: “It is not automatically illegal to say or do anything that is likely to be unpleasant, hurtful, uncomfortable or offensive.

“This guidance is full of sensible provisions to protect victims of hate crime and better distinguish between those that should involve the police and those that, in a free country, should not forcefully.”

Chris Philp, the policing minister, said the government was committed to tackling hate crime but “the focus of the police should be on catching dangerous criminals and bringing them to justice”.

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